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A fired up Max Holloway goes off on Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Of the many fighters that are flummoxed and frustrated by Conor McGregor’s moonlighting in other divisions, Max Holloway is chief among them. The 24-year-old Hawaiian fighter who goes by the "Blessed" nickname feels anything but in the way things are shaking out in his division — the same division he has won nine straight fights in.

First McGregor, who beat him back in 2013 when McGregor first fought on American soil in Boston, got booked into a lightweight title fight with Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. And now, as a direct consequence, featherweight interim champion Jose Aldo has requested his outright release from the UFC.

It’s that last thing that has Holloway fuming a bit. Holloway posted as much on his Twitter feed, writing "PUSSY-ITIS. #maxforgold"

He expressed the reason for that tweet to MMA Fighting on Wednesday night, still upset by Aldo’s audacity.

"The whole thing with Aldo, and everybody thinking he’s the best for 10 years, that he’s unbeaten and the untouchable champ, and all that," Holloway said. "Then the whole thing with Conor thing came out, and he got knocked out, and everybody getting pissed off why he didn’t get a rematch after 13 seconds. These guys need to educate themselves in damn mixed martial arts. How many times has Aldo pulled out of a main event? Not counting the Conor time, how many times before that has Aldo pulled out of a fight? It’s happened a bunch of times."

Aldo has been forced to pull out of fights at UFC 125, UFC 149 in Calgary, and UFC 153 in Brazil, all before he pulled out of his initial fight with McGregor at UFC 189 after a world tour to promote it. Instead, McGregor fought Chad Mendes for the interim title on short notice and was able to win via a come from behind second-round TKO.

Aldo and McGregor finally met at UFC 194, and the fight ended up lasting just 13 seconds. McGregor landed the first punch he threw, a left that connected flush and put Aldo out. Since then Aldo, and many fans, have been clamoring for a rematch with McGregor, and McGregor has pursued fights outside the division.

Holloway sees Aldo’s quest for a rematch as lunacy.

"People keep saying Aldo deserves this, he deserves that — how the hell do you deserve something when you pulled out of all these events?" he said. 
"And did the UFC ever make an interim title when he did? They held that all the way until they gave the interim title to Conor [at UFC 189], but they did it for a business move, to make for a huge event at UFC 194. People keep forgetting the past, of what Aldo did. How many times did he screw the UFC getting hurt and not fighting in the event and the UFC scrambling around and they’ve got to find new fighters for the event or scratch his fight?

"People say 13 seconds…who the f*ck wants to see the rematch after 13 seconds? I sure as hell don’t want to see it."

Holloway hasn’t lost a bout since 2013, when McGregor defeated him via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night 26. At the time he was 21 years old, yet the fight was memorable because Holloway was the only featherweight to take McGregor the distance. Since then he has rattled nine straight wins, including victories over Cub Swanson, Charles Oliveira, Jeremy Stephens and, in his last fight at UFC 199 in June, Ricardo Lamas — all ranked opponents when he fought them.

"I’m not a big name like Aldo," he said. "I’m not as big as Aldo as it is right now, because Aldo had the opportunity to fight a big name and he took it over, and he made his way to the top. Just like McGregor did. He fought some big names, to make his name. Where the hell is my big name that I can go off of? I fought Cub, I fought this Jeremy guy, everybody telling me they want me to fight Frankie, and I’ve been calling out Frankie. Before Mendes got suspended, I’ve been calling out Chad Mendes. It should have been me and Frankie Edgar at that Ultimate Fighter [22 Finale] instead of Chad. That wasn’t my decision. I was begging for a fight. Shit, me and my team was begging for Frankie Edgar at MSG.

"I didn’t think Aldo would even want to defend the [interim] title. But I didn’t want him sitting out. I figured if he wanted a fight, I’d fight him, and the only guy that made sense was me. I turned my whole attention to Aldo because we called out Frankie for this MSG card, and people were telling my team that he was going to 135. So I was like, what the hell? I’ll stop harassing him if he’s going to 35, then I see he’s fighting Jeremy at 45. So f*ck this shit. This sh*t is all wired and hectic."

Holloway said he understands ultimately what’s going on with Conor McGregor, at least from a business perspective. Yet that doesn’t mean the disregard for merit — or what he perceives to be that — doesn’t play a role in his frustration.

"There’s only two guys in our division that Conor beat that’s still ranked, myself and Aldo," he said. "Who the hell else did he beat? I don’t even know who he beat. I only know the two ranked guys were me and Aldo. I don’t take that away from Conor, that he beat Chad Mendes on short notice. Chad took that fight knowing he had a chance to beat Conor, so that’s Chad’s fault he took that fight. My last four guys I beat have all been ranked." 

Holloway was particularly peeved when Aldo recently expressed interest in fighting former lightweight champion Anthony Pettis if the McGregor rematch fell through. Pettis is now competing at 145 pounds and is coming off a victory over Oliveira, whom Holloway beat three fights back.

Holloway said he interprets that as ducking.

"If you look at who has the most fights in the featherweight division, it’s me," he said. "The guy with the most wins in the featherweight division, it’s me again. The guy with the longest winning streak in the division, is me once again. These guys keep telling me I need to fight somebody else, who the hell is next? That’s what I’ve been doing that, and I’ve been knocking them down, and everybody wants to see the next guy, this and that. And what do I do?

"I don’t say shit. Because I know I’m the best motherf*cker in the world, and I’m willing to prove it, and half these motherf*ckers are picking and choosing their fights, trying to cherry pick. People say Aldo’s not running, motherf*cker just said in an interview that he wants to fight [Anthony] Pettis and not me, because Pettis is an easy fight. If that’s not f*cking picking and dodging and running from a fight, I don’t know what the f*ck is."

And yet Holloway wasn’t done. Asked what he would like to do next, ideally, in his mind, he laid it down for the current featherweight champion McGregor, too.

"In my mind — and I’m a realist, I’m not jackass — the way things are panning out right now, all the signs are pointing Aldo right now. In my mind, being a realist. But if I got to choose, I would want to fight McGregor. I’m the only motherf*cker to give him a hard time at 45, and everybody is like, oh my god, he tore his ACL, and I’m like, you motherf*ckers, you guys are just as stupid as shit, to believe this guy tore his ACL and fought me for one-and-a-half rounds…fought me with a torn ACL? There’s no f*cking way.

"You see football players, volleyball players, track runners blow their ACL, they’re f*cking crying, can’t even move. So what the hell makes this guy so special? He maybe had a tear or something, but not a completely blown ACL. And most people don’t know, I got hurt in the first 10 seconds of that damn fight too. I hurt my damn ankle. And when you watch me fight, what does Max Holloway do? He moves. I could not move in that fight because of an ankle injury. I’m not saying the outcome would have been different, but the fight would have been way more entertaining.

"People keep blaming his injury, as to why he couldn’t finish me — and I’ve even heard, multiple times him saying, ‘if I don’t finish a fight, it’s not a win, I fight to the finish.’ So why not fight me? This guy, the only fighter he does not talk about in the 45 division is me. He runs his mouth about everybody except for one, and that’s ‘Blessed.’ That’s Max Holloway. His team respects me, I heard his coach always say nice stuff about me, so step up to the plate. Step up to the challenge. You know who’s the hardest guy here. Come fight me. You want to fight the best guys, come fight the best guys. Stop selling this dream, and stop selling these lies."