Max Holloway’s 10th consecutive victory in the Octagon earned him the UFC interim featherweight title, and now the red-hot Hawaiian has his sights set on unifying the titles early next year.
“Blessed” became the first man to stop Anthony Pettis in 25 professional bouts in the UFC 206 headliner on Saturday night, as he defeated the ex-lightweight king via technical knockout 4:50 into the third frame at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto.
“I knew what I could do and I just had to show the world,” Holloway said on Fox Sports 1. “I know I’m the best in the world and tonight I proved it.
“My prediction was to take him in deep waters. His first fight [at featherweight] he was having a hard time. All my finishes, I finish them later on in the fight,” he continued. “I just wanted to finish the fight later and I knew he wasn’t going to be able to last five rounds with me.”
Pettis claimed to have broken his hand early in the fight, and he had very little success save for a closely contested first few minutes. Holloway found a rhythm late in round one and damaged his foe’s right eye, and continued his momentum from there, dropping “Showtime” in round two and flurrying for the finish in the third stanza. It was a significant milestone for Holloway, who looked up to the ex-UFC and WEC champion earlier in his career.
“I wasn’t aware. I didn’t know he was hurt. That was one of the guys I did look up to when he was coming through,” Holloway said. “He’s the man. He kept on doing his thing. We had a hell of a fight. I’m just blessed. I can’t wait to see what’s next.”
Of course, a title unification bout with Jose Aldo, who was elevated to 145-pound champ after Conor McGregor relinquished the belt approximately a week ago, is the next step for Holloway. While the Hawaiian initially said he was targeting a Feb. 11 date in Brooklyn at UFC 208, he isn’t confident that Aldo will be ready by then.
“I said [I wanted] it in there [in the Octagon]. I had to give up Thanksgiving for this fight. It’s hard to find the guy,” Holloway said. “If more of us are looking for him, we’re going to find him together.
“I don’t want to give my son’s birthday or Christmas for Feb. 11 and him not show up. He has a knack for not showing up.”
While Holloway said he discussed the UFC 208 option with UFC President Dana White following his win over Pettis, he isn’t clear on whether the bout has been offered to Aldo.
“I don’t know. I don’t talk to him,” Holloway said. “That’s not my friend.”
No bouts have been announced for UFC 208, which takes place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn and airs on pay-per-view.