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Morning Report: Dana White says Max Holloway is ‘too big’ to continue as featherweight

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

On Saturday at UFC 231, Max Holloway will return to the cage after a year-long layoff to defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega, assuming he can make weight. But the one man who should arguably be the most concerned with Holloway’s weight cut, says he isn’t worried.

“It’s weird. I’m not nervous, but I should be,” UFC President Dana White told MMAJunkie recently. “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.”

After winning the featherweight title last year, Holloway looked poised to have a breakout 2018. Instead, this year has been one of the most tumultuous of his career. He was expected to defend his title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222, but was forced to withdraw from the bout due to a leg injury. Then, two months later, he offered to step in on a week’s notice against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 for the vacant UFC lightweight title. But on weigh-in day, the New York State Athletic Commission pulled him from the card due to the severity of his short-notice weight cut. It was a missed opportunity for Holloway.

Holloway rebounded quickly, intending to defend his title against Ortega in July but was once again set back, withdrawing from the bout on fight week due to concussion-like symptoms. Eventually, he was cleared to fight once again and now he and Ortega will finally square off, barring anymore last minute impediments. Those could still be in the offing though, as the issues that manifested in July were never properly explained by doctors. But for Dana White’s money, these issues are all come back to the same thing, Max Holloway is too big to keep competing at 145 pounds.

“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 down 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.”

For his part, Holloway has dismissed any concern over his weight cutting, saying he showed up for this week lighter than usual and reminding everyone that he has never officially missed weight before.

“At the end of the day, I’ll show up,” Holloway said. We’ll see what happens when I show up and we meet in the Octagon. I can’t wait to see it.

“I never missed weight. Everybody keeps talking about this weight thing, and blah blah blah. Have I ever stepped on the scale and missed weight?”

But that doesn’t mean Holloway is averse to the idea of moving up to lightweight. “Blessed” already offered to head up once before and he is still more than happy to take a trip up to 155 pounds, or even higher. Whatever is the best option for his career.

“We talked a little bit about it,” Holloway said. “Not too much, not too crazy, you know? At the end of the day, I’m a champion. I’m a champion. I wanted to be a defending champion, now I want to be a 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 of times, it’s staying here; if it’s fighting my good friend [Daniel Cormier], ‘The Kung Fu Panda’, ‘The Daddest Man on the Planet’, so be it. I want to be the best ever.”


Goof. Dana White: Rachael Ostovich ‘doesn’t have an issue’ with fighting on same card as Greg Hardy.

145. Max Holloway scoffs at weight-cut skepticism: ‘At the end of the day, I’ll show up’.

GOAT. Joanna Jedrzejczyk on criticism from fellow flyweights: ‘I earned this title shot’.

Move. T.J. Dillashaw vs. Henry Cejudo moved from UFC 233 to Brooklyn event.

GSP. Olivier Aubin-Mercier: Khabib Nurmagomedov fight would get GSP back to UFC.

Boxing. Floyd Mayweather vs. Tenshin Nasukawa rules announced.


The MMA Beat

UFC 231 Timeline.

UFC Embedded.

Bellator Countdown.

Complete history of the strawweight division.

Mayweather admitting he’s never fighting in MMA or kickboxing.

Tenshin talking that ish to Conor.

Max on GQ.


Fights Gone By. Jack Slack discussing UFC 231 and Holloway vs. Ortega.

Bushido Talk. Discussing the past, present, and future of the UFC.



Let go.

Call out.

Working things out.

For you stat nerds out there.


Dustin Poirier had an interesting day.


Kay Hansen (3-2) vs. Sharon Jacobson (5-3); Invicta FC 33, Dec. 15.


1996: Don Frye submitted Tank Abbott to win the tournament at UFC Ultimate Ultimate 2. Also, this is one of the few events in UFC history featuring a worked fight. In the semifinals, Frye faced Anthony Macias, a man he had beaten several times before and who was managed by the same man. Macias tapped to an achilles lock 20 seconds into the fight, sparing Frye from a hard battle ahead of the finals.


Cross your fingers Max makes weight today. Also, Joanna-Valentina is the best fight in WMMA history. Enjoy.

Thanks for reading and see y’all on Monday.



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