When UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway lost Frankie Edgar as an opponent for Saturday’s UFC 218 main event, he was forced to think hard about a replacement
As the Hawaiian had already effectively cleared the division out, there were mutterings at one point of #9 ranked Darren Elkins as a potential opponent.
With crosses over the names of the best of 145-pounds (Edgar excluded) there was talk of Holloway even moving up to 155-pounds to fight interim lightweight champion Tony Ferguson, or facing Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone (despite “Cowboy” fighting at 170).
“The UFC wasn’t too excited about that,” Holloway’s longtime manager Brian Butler told MMAjunkie. “(Holloway) said he would fight (UFC interim lightweight champ Tony) Ferguson, he talked about (Donald) ‘Cowboy’ (Cerrone), going up to 155 (pounds) and doing whatever,” Butler said. “We thought that we were going to get Cub (Swanson), but it ended up being Aldo. Max just calmly said, ‘It is what it is, and let’s do it,’” Butler said. “He signed the bout contract within minutes.”
Butler further explained that a lack of candidates at featherweight was simply due to Holloway’s incredible run:
“When Max won the belt, he did it in a way that he cleaned out the division on his way to it,” Butler said. “He didn’t jump the line or skip around, so there wasn’t a lot of people left to fight.