Max Holloway traveled Wednesday from Hawaii to Las Vegas. On the airport was the primary time the previous UFC featherweight champion has seen his coaches in particular person for months.

Holloway instructed ESPN’s Ariel Helwani on Friday that he did not go to the health club or see his coaches throughout his UFC 251 coaching camp. Holloway had no coaching companions and didn’t spar. The workforce was taking precautions — authorized and in any other case — in the course of the coronavirus pandemic, which included a stay-at-home order in Hawaii.

On July 11, Holloway will try and regain the featherweight title in opposition to champion Alexander Volkanovski within the co-main occasion of UFC 251 in Abu Dhabi. In lieu of in-person coaching at his Gracie Technics health club, Holloway did his coaching at dwelling over video name.

“Every little thing we have been doing [was] by Zoom,” Holloway mentioned. “For those who acquired caught on the health club, as a result of there was lockdown and stuff, all of us might have gotten arrested. It was a little bit bit extra of a sacrifice for me on my finish if I went on the market. You understand [the authorities are] gonna make some extent. [They] see my butt on the market, ‘Yeah, let’s get this man. Let’s make some extent and put worry into folks.'”

Holloway and his workforce arrived in Las Vegas on Wednesday, together with the opposite fighters from the US going to UFC 251. Everybody within the touring occasion was examined for COVID-19 on Thursday after which made to quarantine at a lodge. The UFC fighters, nook folks and employees members will board a constitution flight to Abu Dhabi on Friday night time.

Holloway mentioned his distinctive coaching camp was “difficult” and “tough.” He additionally needed to homeschool his son, Rush, with faculties being out of session because of COVID-19. However ultimately, Holloway mentioned it was a hit and “top-of-the-line camps I’ve ever had,” with out the standard bumps and bruises of a typical coaching camp.

“There’s all the time [those] nagging accidents,” Holloway mentioned. “However I did not get no new damage. Each camp, I normally get a brand new damage. I normally inform you guys I haven’t got none, as a result of that is simply us fighters.”

Not with the ability to spar was one of many hardest issues for Holloway, who admits to being an enormous proponent of sparring in preparation for a struggle. However he mentioned not having the ability to take action modified his philosophy.

“I really like sparring,” Holloway mentioned. “However this camp truly opened my eyes. We do not actually should spar that a lot anymore. We’re at that time in my profession, I understand how to punch, I understand how to kick. I understand how to use it.”

Volkanovski went by the same difficulty. He wasn’t in a position to journey to Metropolis Kickboxing in New Zealand from his native Australia because of restrictions and quarantine guidelines. However Volkanovski did get to coach and spar at Freestyle Combating Health club near his dwelling close to Sydney. Holloway wasn’t even ready to try this.

Regardless of the problems, Holloway mentioned there was by no means any thought to pushing the struggle again.

“Delay the struggle for what?” Holloway mentioned. “We’re true fighters. All people likes to name us modern-day gladiators. A number of fighters wish to name themselves modern-day gladiators. However when it is time to struggle, it is time to struggle. I did not see no gladiators again within the day being like, ‘Oh wait, the lion I used to be coaching with was weak, so I must go discover a stronger lion.'”

Holloway (21-5) dropped the featherweight title to Volkanovski at UFC 245 final December by unanimous choice. The Hawaii native had three title defenses previous to that and has been thought-about among the many finest — if not the perfect — featherweight fighter of all time. Holloway, 28, has dropped two of his previous three fights, however the different loss was at light-weight in an interim title bout in opposition to Dustin Poirier.

Holloway famous that Volkanovski was the one calling for a rematch, despite the fact that Volkanovski received the primary struggle.

“Nothing has modified to me, to be trustworthy,” Holloway mentioned. “I nonetheless really feel like I am the champion, I nonetheless get love like I am the champion. I must exit and struggle like a champion.”