Max Holloway is ready to usher in a new era with a victory over Jose Aldo at UFC 212, but he says his legacy is about more than just a piece of championship hardware.
Holloway and Aldo will square off in a featherweight title unification bout at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night. Holloway captured interim featherweight gold with a stoppage of Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 this past December. Aldo, regarded by many as the best featherweight of all-time, defeated Frankie Edgar for what was then the interim 145-pound belt at UFC 200 last July. After Conor McGregor vacated the championship he won with a 13-second knockout of Aldo at UFC 194, Aldo was promoted to undisputed champ.
While belts certainly are nice, Holloway is thinking big picture.
“Everybody can get a belt. I don’t care. I want an undisputed career. I want the best damn career,” Holloway said during a recent conference call. “I want to be the best guy ever to do this. When I’m done, a long time from now and people are still talking about my name as being the undisputed fighter in the world, not only of the featherweight; it’s the gold, everything.
“I want to be like Demetrious Johnson, taking pictures with 11 belts. Or even like Joanna [Jedrzejczyk] with her five belts. It’s cool. I want to be like these guys and just be dominant. I want to make sure there’s no doubt that I was the best to ever do this.”
The 25-year-old Hawaiian is certainly on the right track. After beginning his promotional tenure with a .500 record in his first six Octagon appearances, “Blessed” has reeled off 10 consecutive triumphs — many over the best the featherweight division has to offer. In addition to Pettis, Holloway has bested the likes of Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens and Ricardo Lamas in dominant fashion.
“We stay confident and I know I’m the greatest. I tell myself I’m the greatest and this is what you need to do…..The stats, they talk for themselves. Go look at the featherweight stats and records. If my name isn’t first, it’s at least in the top three or top five,” he said. “But at the end of the day, I want the undisputed stuff and I know the things I can control with undisputed career. I know the things I control is training and the way I prepare for fights. And I just want to be dominant. You look at these last couple of fights, they were dominant wins and I don’t plan on changing anything on June 3.”
A victory over Aldo could go a long way toward establishing the legacy Holloway desires. Other than the hiccup against McGregor, the Nova Uniao product has been at the top of the division for the better part of seven years. Aldo is someone Holloway has been watching from afar since he was a teenager. Now he has the chance to take the torch as the sport’s next great featherweight at UFC 212.
“I respect the guy. I think you need to respect the guy. Look, he’s one of the greatest to do it,” Holloway said. “Like I said before, since I was 17 I watched this guy at 25. He stayed on top of the division. Now, it’s time for a new era. Right now, we’ve got business to take care of. I can’t wait to fight the guy.”