This Saturday night, Max Holloway puts his Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight title on the line against the undefeated Brian Ortega. If his boss has anything to say about it, it might be one of the last times he does so.
Holloway has withdrawn from his last three scheduled fights, first by missing weight and then the last two when he suffered concussion-like symptoms rumored to have been caused by his large weight cut.
UFC President White has expressed concern in the past about his star fighting at featherweight and in an interview with MMA Junkie ahead of UFC 231, expressed his ambivalence in spite of Holloway being medically cleared to fight.
“It’s weird; I’m not nervous, but I should be,” White said. “You know, I didn’t want him to fight again at ’45. He wanted this fight so bad. He got cleared by every test and doctor and everything we’ve done. Came in light this week, so we’ll see what happens. Yeah, it would be really bad if he didn’t make weight.”
Even if Holloway beats Ortega on Saturday night and retains his belt, it seems that he’ll have a tough time convincing White to let him stay at 145 pounds, which the President claims he’s “too big” for.
“I think he needs to go to ’55,” White said. “He’s too big for this weight. You can’t keep doing this to yourself and cutting to ’45. But you know what he wanted? He wants this Ortega fight. He wants to fight Ortega so bad. This is the fight he wanted. He got it. He medically got cleared, and he got what he wanted.”
While Holloway doesn’t necessarily want to vacate the featherweight title, he said he’s motivated defending belts regardless of division.
“At the end of the day, I’m a champion,” Holloway said. “I want to defend and be a defending champion. Now I want to be pound-for-pound champion. If it’s going up a weight class, then it’s going up. If it’s staying here and defending my belt a couple more times, it’s staying here. If it’s fighting my good friend [Daniel Cormier], the Kung Fu Panda, the ‘Daddest Man on the Planet,’ then so be it. I want to be the best ever. No. 1.”