UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway who was headline UFC 222 to fight against Frankie Edgar but an ankle injury forced him to withdraw from his scheduled title defense. That marked the first fight withdrawal of his professional career.
However, as a late replacement, surging contender Brian Ortega stepped in and shocked the world, defeated Frankie Edgar via KO in the first round.
Moreover, Hawaiian says it was ‘a hard pill to swallow.’ Speaking recently on the recent edition of The MMA Hour, Holloway said he did everything possible to fight, but things didn’t work out:
“It was difficult, man. It was a tough pill to swallow, for sure,” Holloway said, per MMA Fighting’s Shaun Al-Shatti. “I’ve never, ever pulled out of a fight in my life, not even in my amateur days. And for the first time to be that? So much history was on line.
“Things happen though. Things happen for a reason and this injury popped up and it wasn’t my day. It was a tough pill to swallow, man. I was trying to find every single way out of this, trying to talk to the doctors and this and that and figure out a way so we could still go out there and fight, but it wasn’t budging, man. They had the last call, they had the final call — they called it, and it was definitely a hard one.”
Holloway said he still needs clearance to fight as his physical therapy sessions have been going well, but he’s returned to training and expects to get final approval from his doctor within few weeks. He is expected to return this Summer, preferably at UFC 226 on July 7.
“We’ve got one more doctor’s meeting before everything, in like a month or so, and we’ll see what happens,” Holloway said. “I don’t know when it is exactly, but that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get cleared.
“The surgery happens if the injury [rehabilitation] won’t hold up, so we’re waiting. The doctor gave us a certain timeline and we’re just playing it by ear now.”
Now featherweight champion Max Holloway can’t wait to defend his title against Brian Ortega, who is undefeated in his MMA record and said he was surprised by Ortega’s knockout win over Edgar:
“Ortega is undefeated for a reason,” he said. “He’s good. He had knockouts on his record. I thought if he finished [Edgar], it was going to be a submission, because he’s pretty [skilled] there too and he’s super good on the ground. So I thought if it was a finish, it’d guaranteed be a submission. But he went out there and did his thing.
“This is a sport. It goes on, it keeps it moving. And I wasn’t mad at all. People keep thinking that Frankie is out of the picture completely. After the Ortega fight, we’ll see what happens. A couple more wins and [Edgar] is back in the discussion again, so I don’t really care. It’s time to move on, it’s time to focus on the next guy up, and that’s Ortega supposedly, so I can’t wait. I’m just ready. I’m ready to fight, man.”
Holloway vs. Ortega fight talks are still under construction and nothing is official yet. We are hoping that Holloway doesn’t require surgery, so this contest is could booked for UFC 226, which is set to take place inside T-Mobile Arena on July 7, 2018.
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