TORONTO – UFC President Dana White is in favor of Max Holloway moving up to the lightweight division as soon as possible.
Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC), the UFC featherweight champion, puts his title on the line for the second time when he meets Brian Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) on Saturday in the UFC 231 headliner. It marks his return to the octagon from a career-long layoff after three previously scheduled bouts were called off this year.
The withdrawal from UFC 222 in March stemmed from an injury. UFC 223 in April was weight-cutting related, while his withdrawal from his first booking against Ortega might have been related to the weight cut, though it’s still largely uncertain.
All of that leads White to believe that “Blessed” isn’t fit for the 145-pound division any longer, but he said the champ persuaded him to stay. Despite that, White said he’s not particularly concerned about Holloway ahead of UFC 231.
“It’s weird; I’m not nervous, but I should be,” White told MMAjunkie. “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.”
UFC 231 takes place Saturday at Scotiabank Arena. Holloway vs. Ortega headlines the pay-per-view main card following prelims on FS1 and UFC Fight Pass.
Just because White gave Holloway his wish with the Ortega fight, it doesn’t mean he’ll allow the Hawaiian to fight at featherweight forever. There’s a level of discomfort about Holloway’s size and weight cut, and White’s not keen to see that continue.
“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.”
Holloway hasn’t appeared overly resistant to the idea of switching weight classes following UFC 231. The outcome of his fight with Ortega will heavily influence his future, but Holloway said he’s not opposed to making a change down the line because it could be part of what’s necessary to complete his career goals.
“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.”
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Source: USA Today – MMA Junkie
Read the full article here: Dana White: UFC champ Max Holloway 'too big' to keep fighting at featherweight