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Max Holloway Is a Legend. But Is He OK to Fight?



Max Holloway became a living legend on April 1st. That was the day when the UFC featherweight champion was asked to replace Tony Ferguson and fight Khabib Nurmagomedov with less than a week's notice. Even though he was at home in Hawaii, about 5,000 miles from New York, where the struggle was taking place, and weighing 175 pounds north, about 20 pounds north of the £ 155 limit he was supposed to reach, he agreed ardently. It was not a joke of April Fools. He got on a plane Monday of the week of the fight and on Wednesday he made a press conference in front of the most fearsome light on the planet.

It was a lesson of the kind of nerve we have to do with Holloway. No one volunteers for that kind of mission unless they are armed with a thousand self-consciousnesses. Holloway was skipping the opportunity to become the second double-division champion of the UFC, yes, but he was jumping there with Khabib, a seemingly unstoppable force, and he did it with less than a week's notice. Holloway never hesitated.


Max Holloway and Brian Ortega
Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

That gesture gave rise to the cult of Max Holloway, the 27-year-old Hawaiian who speaks pidgin, thin as a pickerel, which is all that the UFCs long for a champion: fearless, adamant, idiosyncratic and deadly. And the cult of Max Holloway persists even if the fight has never happened. Ultimately, the Athletics Commission of the State of New York did not allow the meeting, given the extreme nature of Holloway's rapid weight cutting. Nurmagomedov ended up facing an opponent of Plan D at Al Iaquinta, who dominated en route to record-by-sight combat with Conor McGregor at UFC 229.


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