Max Holloway, the undisputed UFC featherweight champion, was forced to withdraw from his main event title fight with Frankie Edgar due to an undisclosed ankle injury at UFC 222. This sent the pay-per-view event into turmoil, with a huge amount of uncertainty surrounding the event.
This injury forced Holloway to watch from the sidelines, as late replacement Brian Ortega shocked the world and defeated Frankie Edgar via KO in the first round. Although this may have been a difficult time for Holloway, his injury enabled a new star to be born in Brian Ortega. Max Holloway now has arguably a more difficult fight, but this bout in many experts minds is the biggest featherweight bout since Jose Aldo vs Conor McGregor in 2015.
In an interview with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour, Holloway explained how devastated he was to be pulled from the event.
“It was difficult, man. It was a tough pill to swallow, for sure,” Holloway told host Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour. “I’ve never, ever pulled out of a fight in my life, not even in my amateur days. And for the first time to be that? So much history was on the line.”
The fighter in Max Holloway wanted to continue on with the bout as scheduled, but he was unable to convince doctors to allow him to compete.
“Things happen though. Things happen for a reason and this injury popped up and it wasn’t my day. It was a tough pill to swallow, man. I was trying to find every single way out of this, trying to talk to the doctors and this and that and figure out a way so we could still go out there and fight, but it wasn’t budging, man. They had the last call, they had the final call — they called it, and it was definitely a hard one.”
Looking forward to his expected bout with #1 UFC featherweight Brian Ortega, Holloway said that his physical therapy sessions have been going well and he is hoping to receive clearance from doctors soon.
“We’ve got one more doctor’s meeting before everything, in like a month or so, and we’ll see what happens,” Holloway said. “I don’t know when it is exactly, but that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get cleared.
“The surgery happens if the injury (rehabilitation) won’t hold up, so we’re waiting. The doctor gave us a certain timeline and we’re just playing it by ear now.”
The bout between champion Max Holloway and Brian Ortega looks set to be an exciting stylistic match-up, but first Max Holloway must work on rehabilitating his injuries and getting back to his peak physical condition.
Were you disappointed to see Max Holloway pull out of UFC 222, or were you happy to see Brian Ortega given a huge opportunity?