The fight between the 10-fight consecutive winning interim featherweight champion, Max Holloway and the once long term featherweight champion Jose Aldo is just days away. The two men have to live with the constant reminder of their last loss, which came against the same opponent, Conor McGregor. It’s because of McGregor that the stakes of this fight are raised to another level.
Aldo’s rebound win against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 went relatively unnoticed since despite Aldo’s ability to outclass Edgar for five rounds. Holloway’s TKO win over Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 also didn’t hold as much weight as Holloway would’ve liked considering he still had to go through Aldo.
Aldo and Holloway have the platform to have a classic battle in an attempt to erase the McGregor talks and instead make it their night and their division for a change. If we switch gears and look past the results of this main event, we’d have some interesting options for both competitors.
On Wednesday when speaking to the media, Aldo expressed a desire to fight more often specifically by participating in super fights at 155 lbs, but did state that he didn’t have interest in fighting for the UFC lightweight title, instead return to his division to defend his title between said super fights. Aldo brought up the time last December when Dana White offered Khabib Nurmagomedov an interim UFC lightweight fight against him, only to be declined. Tony Ferguson was also offered the fight against Aldo, but also declined. Both men would rather face each other instead at UFC 209 for the interim lightweight title and we know how that story went.
Despite their excuses for not facing Aldo, the fact remains that he is still a threat and a proven champion while the same cannot be said about Ferguson or Nurmagomedov. Should Aldo win, he should move up and work his way up the 155 lb ladder because he can. The UFC showed that they were willing to let him jump ahead of the line in December so he should take advantage of that. Aldo could’ve went the route of attacking both men’s characters, but instead he settled for a fight against Hawaii’s newest combat star.
Holloway is only 25 and already wearing UFC gold and if he gets past Aldo, he’s got Frankie Edgar to deal with, but then there would be no other fights except maybe rematches against Aldo, Cub Swanson or Ricardo Lamas. Holloway expressed a desire to eventually move up to the lightweight division at some point in his career and there is really no better time to do so then when the champion of said division is the highest paid fighter in the UFC. Holloway has reason to avenge that loss and should attempt to go that route, but it’s unlikely he’d go that route since he already stated he is focused on reining over the 145 lb division like Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson did in their respective divisions.
Both Holloway and Aldo are separated by five years of age with their eyes on holding on to their titles, but both men are likely to go in different directions after the fight. Win or lose, we could finally see Aldo at 155, while Holloway would face Edgar win or lose – someone who Aldo already dealt with almost a year ago. Should they continue to go the norm and remain predictable in their decision making, they’ll forever be remembered for their loss to McGregor.