530 days removed from the devastating KO, at the hands of Notorious One. Jose Aldo will aim to take back the reins of the featherweight division. In his way will stand Max “Blessed” Holloway, a young Hawaiian carrying a 10-fight UFC win streak going into the contest.
The buildup to this fight has been dizzying.
Max Holloway has been eyeballing the top spot in the 145 division, since his victory over Ricardo Llamas, June 4, 2016. Shortly after, in absence of Conor McGregor, an interim title was created, and On July 9, 2016 at UFC 200, Jose Aldo defeated Frankie Edgar, by Unanimous decision to claim the interim featherweight title. Aldo, hopeful that this would lure the Irishman back to the featherweight division, McGregor instead chose to fight Eddie Alvarez. Troubled by this Jose Aldo, declared retirement from the sport of MMA. Even asking the UFC to release him from his contract. With Aldo, the interim champion now vacant from the division as well, another featherweight interim title was created. This time the bout would pit Max Holloway against former UFC Lightweight Champion, Anthony “Showtime” Pettis; and in third round with a heavy barrage to the body of Pettis, Max Holloway would become the new, interim Featherweight Champion. Immediately after the win, Max Holloway called for “Jose Waldo” to come forward, and meet him in February at UFC 208; but upon further review of the timeline they were unable schedule a bout for February. However, later that month the UFC did announce that the two would finally meet at UFC 212, in Rio De Janeiro.
Rio, is home to champion Jose Aldo, and in the past, he has made good use of the at home advantage. Holloway was welcomed to the open workouts Thursday by the chants “uh vai morrer”, but the Hawaiian native embraced the energy. Turning it into a boost of energy for himself, running around flexing and smiling at the crowd.
The energy in Rio is palpable, and on June 3rd the pair will finally meet inside the octagon to crown the UFC undisputed Featherweight Champion.