Waianae’s Max Holloway’s long awaited return to the UFC Octagon is set to take place this December.
The UFC officially announced that Holloway (19-3 MMA, 15-3 UFC) will defend his featherweight championship against number-one contender Brian Ortega (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 231 on Dec. 8 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada.
Holloway is currently riding a 12-match winning streak while Ortega is undefeated in his career.
“It’s got all the spelling for fireworks you know? It’s got all the spelling for fireworks. They watched my last fight, my last couple fights. It’s exciting with that Aldo fight and when we got someone like Ortega right there, young, hungry and ready to take the throne, you know? I’m right here. I dare you. I’m here, I can’t wait,” Holloway told KHON2 Sports Director Rob DeMello.
“This fight excites me. I can’t wait. I’m so happy that people, you know, with that second Aldo fight, everybody kept saying this, this, and this. Like, whatever. Now with this fight, everybody is telling me that I got a whole different animal, so I can’t wait to see this animal that everybody keeps talking about,” Holloway added.
The highly anticipated title bout was originally set to take place on July 7 in Las Vegas as the co-main event of UFC 228, but Holloway was forced to withdraw due to medical concerns.
At the time, officials called it “concussion-like symptoms,” but Holloway went through a number of tests with specialists. They ruled out concussion, weight-cutting, and even more serious concerns like a stroke.
At this time, it is still unclear what caused Holloway’s condition during fight week, but he has been granted clearance by doctors to continue training and defend his title.
Holloway has yet to fight in 2018, as he was forced out of three different fights for medical reasons.
“This has been one hell of a year, you know? Last year was a great year. This year wasn’t looking up, but you finish strong. You finish strong, and that’s what we’re going to do,” said Holloway.
A title defense against Frankie Edgar in March was scratched due to an ankle injury. Then as a late notice replacement for Tony Ferguson, Holloway was scratched from his 155-pound title shot against Khabin Nurmagomedov in April as the New York State Athletic Commission deemed his weight-cut on six days notice as unsafe.
This will mark the third consecutive year that Holloway will fight in December. In 2016, he defeated Anthony Pettis in Toronto to claim the interim UFC Featherweight Championship.
Then in December 2017, he successfully defended the undisputed title against Aldo, six months after taking it from him.
“I get that first week of December again. I fought it two years in a row, and this is going to be the third year. I don’t think the outcome will be any different. We go in there, get the job done, and still, and come back and enjoy,” Holloway said.
All three of his last fights have ended with third-round TKOs.