Max Holloway won his seventh straight, albeit in bizarre fashion. | Photo: Josh Schaefer/Sherdog.com
While it probably wasn’t the ending he envisioned, Max Holloway’s stock continued to rise after Sunday’s victory over Charles Oliveira at UFC Fight Night in Saskatoon.
Holloway earned his seventh consecutive triumph when Oliveira mysteriously asked out of the featherweight contest 1:39 into the first round. The Brazilian appeared to suffer an injury following a takedown attempt near the fence. “Charles do Bronx” returned to his feet momentarily before slumping to the canvas in obvious discomfort, bringing a perplexing end to the headlining bout.
Exact details of the ailment were unavailable in the immediate aftermath of the fight, though the injury looked to be near Oliveira’s shoulder or collarbone.
“Charles was immediately transported to the hospital,” UFC executive Tom Wright said at the post-fight press conference. “He was alert; he was able to move all his extremities. We are waiting for any updates. As soon as we get them we will be able to tell you.”
Even though he wanted to make a more emphatic statement in victory, Holloway also empathized with his opponent’s situation.
“It sucked, you know. I trained super hard,” he said. “It comes with the territory. My prayers go out to Charles. At the end of the day these guys have to understand he’s ranked no. 7 in the world, so he probably only does this, and he gets money probably only fighting.
“Injuries set you back. If you can’t fight you can’t pay your bills. My prayers go out to him, but it comes with the sport. It’s sad to see.”
Still only 23 years old, Holloway has already earned 10 victories inside the Octagon. With wins against the likes of Oliveira and Cub Swanson on his resume, the Hawaiian has his sights set on an even loftier challenge for his next bout. In his post-fight interview, Holloway targeted a matchup with Frankie Edgar, and he reiterated that desire on the press conference dais. In an ideal world, Holloway would like to see the fight go down in his home state.
“The UFC works in mysterious ways. I’m sure they’re gonna find something for me. But I’m serious, all the writers out here... tell Dana White you all want to go to Hawaii,” he said. “It’ll be a great trip, I promise. Let’s get UFC Hawaii and [what better] fight? Holloway versus Frankie Edgar in a stadium. It’d be huge.”
Of course, Holloway also feels like he has some unfinished business with interim featherweight titlist Conor McGregor, who defeated him via unanimous decision in August 2013. That was Holloway’s last loss in UFC competition.
“I’d fight him any day of the week. Now [that] I don’t have a fight, now I can talk [about] how I feel,” he said. “UFC could have called me up for the last one and I would have took him. But they didn’t; they chose Chad [Mendes]. I’d love to fight him. You want to talk money? Holloway versus McGregor, you’ve got money with the [rematch] in that fight.”
Holloway has made great strides since falling to Dustin Poirier in his short notice Octagon debut, but he doesn’t allow himself to think about how far he has come. That type of reflection can be reserved for some day in the distant future.
“All I can say is I work hard. The sacrifice is real. I spend time away from my family and I’m not gonna waste it,” Holloway said. “I could be at home with my son and my family and my wife. It’s just sacrifice. To get to the top you’ve got to sacrifice things. I can enjoy everything later when I’m done fighting and I’m happy and getting fat.”