While the shadow of Conor McGregor still looms large over the featherweight division in which he never lost his title, at UFC 212 José Aldo will meet Max Holloway to determine who exactly the best fighter is in the Irishman’s absence from the division.
For the second time in his UFC career, Aldo was awarded the UFC featherweight strap outside of the cage after it was given to him following the organisation’s decision to remove the 145-pound belt from McGregor following his historic lightweight championship victory over Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205 last November. Hawaiian fighter Holloway won the division’s interim title in December after besting former 155-pound kingpin Anthony Pettis and now Holloway and Aldo are set to meet to crown one undisputed champion at 145-pounds.
“He’s a tall guy, but I have good reach, too. It’s no trouble, it’s only a few centimeters. He has an advantage being taller than me, but I don’t see him being an expert anywhere”, Aldo said.
“He’s a kickboxer, he’s versatile there, but his jiu-jitsu is so-so. He’s not a complete fighter, but he’s aggressive and dangerous.”
Aldo has fought just once since losing his featherweight title to McGregor in thirteen second knockout in December 2015 — a unanimous decision against Frankie Edgar at UFC 200 — but says that he has enough about his game to overcome the challenge of Holloway, a fighter who has been on a ten-fight win streak of his own ever since dropping a decision to McGregor in August 2013.
Since then Holloway has rattled off impressive victories over the likes of Cub Swanson, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, Charles Oliveira and Pettis to become one of the featherweight division’s elite fighters.
A victory over Aldo, however, would be his biggest yet and put forward his case for a potential rematch with McGregor at 145-pounds should the Irishman place his focus on regaining the belt which he feels he never lost in the first place.