Max Holloway moves up to the UFC’s lightweight division this Saturday night when he takes on Dustin Poirier for the interim 155-pound belt at UFC 236.
The featherweight kingpin is looking to become a dual-division belt holder in his fight with Poirier, with the winner to face the current lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year. For Holloway, 2018 was a year to forget despite the fact he defended his featherweight belt in style against the very dangerous and previously undefeated challenger Brian Ortega in December last year at UFC 231. However, for the rest of the year, the man affectionately known as “Blessed” struggled with a host of cancelled fights, injuries and a bout of depression.
Holloway recently opened up on the struggles he dealt with last year in a recent interview with Sports Illustrated.
”Man, the last fight [against Brian Ortega at UFC 231] was emotional,” Holloway said. “The year leading up to that, I had a bunch of fights fall through, had a little depression. I was fighting somewhat of depression. It was just crazy to have the fight like that.
”The last year, part of my career, three fights that got pulled from me,” he added. “I got hurt. I got hurt. After that, doctors pulled me twice. It goes from a guy… I’m so used to fighting two to four times a year to only fighting one time a year now. I had no control or say in it. After that stuff that happened, I was thinking like, ‘Man, what if I don’t ever fight again?’ That’s what led into it.”
Holloway said he was able to come out of those struggles as a stronger person and is in a good place ahead of his much anticipated fight against the dangerous Poirier.
”I got to figure out other things in my life and do stuff,” Holloway said of the past year. “It was amazing. It was an amazing year. I grew a lot as a person … A true champion is not a guy who goes up there and can do champion stuff.
“A true champion is someone who can hit rock bottom, come back up. This fight, April 13, next week, with Dustin, me and him, we had the highs, the lows that are lows in this sport, highs that are highs. Now we’re back at the highs of the highs, be able to fight for the 155 gold, one of the most dangerous divisions.”