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Max Holloway questions Jose Aldo’s motivation heading into UFC 218: ‘What’s going on?’

Max Holloway faces Jose Aldo in a rematch at UFC 218.
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Jose Aldo was trying to say all the right things on Tuesday when talking about his impending UFC 218 rematch with Max Holloway.

Holloway took Aldo’s UFC featherweight title via third-round TKO at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro, so the opportunity to take back the belt and become a three-time champion is providing plenty of motivation for Aldo.

“It’s going to be different because I’m motivated,” Aldo said via translator on a conference call. “I’m very well trained right now, I’m really focused and I believe it’s going to be a different ending from the first fight.”

And to that, the current titleholder took exception.

Holloway wants to know: Why is Aldo just finding motivation now, and where was it when he was defending his title in his Brazilian homeland?

“This guy is talking about motivation, how motivated he is for the belt,” Holloway said. “I have no idea when people talk motivation. This guy was fighting at his hometown as the champion, and for him to be saying motivation, now he feels way more motivated, fighting for your country and fighting in front of your people, for your belt, is not enough motivation? What’s going on?”

Having just won the full championship — Holloway defeated Anthony Pettis to win an interim belt at UFC 206 before unifying the titles at UFC 212 — simply holding on to the belt is enough to keep the energetic Hawaiian motivated, regardless of who is on the other side of the cage.

“I’m motivated. The belt is great. You know what comes with the belt? Bigger paydays, pay-per-views, and a lot of stuff,” Holloway said. “But a belt is a belt and a fight is a fight. I don’t want to go out and get my butt whooped, my ass whooped in front of millions of people watching at home.”

So Holloway, who was expecting to defend his championship against Frankie Edgar in Detroit before the latter went down with an injury, has no problem getting up to fight a competitor he finished just five months ago.

“I can fight this guy 10 times in a row,” Holloway said. “I’ll be motivated, that’s who I am.”

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