Max Holloway returned to the Octagon after a tough year to defend his featherweight belt in the main event of UFC 231 in Toronto, and scored an impressive victory over previously unbeaten Brian Ortega on Saturday night.
Scoring the fourth straight TKO victory in featherweight title bouts, a run that includes three-round stoppages over Jose Aldo and Anthony Pettis, Holloway refuses to embrace the title of greatest 145-pound in mixed martial arts history.
”You’re wrong,” Holloway told a reporter that said he was the best featherweight in history during the post-fight press conference in Toronto. “I still believe the greatest featherweight of all time is Jose Aldo. When I’m 30 or 31, or his age, then you ask me if I’m the greatest featherweight of all time if I’m still here. But, at the end of the day, I just want to be pound for pound No. 1.”
Aldo’s reign in the featherweight division started under the WEC banner in 2009, when he stopped Mike Brown to capture the 145-pound gold. The Nova Uniao fighter defended it a couple of times before being crowned the UFC titleholder. Inside the Octagon, Aldo ran the division with seven title defenses between 2011 and 2014, before losing the gold to Conor McGregor.
Asked what he still has to do to surpass the Brazilian as the best of all time in the division, Holloway says “just keep winning.”
”I just gotta keep winning. I just gotta keep doing my job, keep winning fights, and let you guys keep talking about it,” Holloway said. “But, personally, for me, I think Jose still is. I’m chasing him. He set the bar, I still gotta break it, I’m setting bars for these guys. People are saying thing this new era, or whatever, I’m setting the bar for the new era, I guess. When the Blessed era is here, the Blessed era is gonna be in full effect.”
Riding a 13-fight winning streak under the UFC banner, “Blessed” could be in his final days as a featherweight, considering the out-of-the-cage troubles he went trough in 2018 and Dana White’s desire to see him fight at lightweight next. If he does have to move up in weight, Holloway jokes that he will go all the way to heavyweight to challenge Daniel Cormier.
”I’m champion, I’m defending my belt. Now I’m being No. 1,” Holloway said. “If it’s up a weight class, it’s up. If it’s here, defending my throne. If I get to fight one of my good friends, the daddest man on the planet, for that title, bring it on, Kung Fu Panda, I got you, DC. Hawaiians, we love eating, I can see him very soon [laughs].”
Watch the post-fight press conference with Max Holloway below.