The sting of shedding the UFC featherweight championship didn’t actually weigh Max Holloway down an excessive amount of after falling to Alexander Volkanovski this previous December.

Whereas many referred to as him the best 145-pound fighter of all time, Holloway by no means purchased into the hype or accolades surrounding his title reign and as an alternative he simply targeted on the following contender standing in line to face him.

He carried that very same angle out of his loss to Volkanovski as Holloway deliberate to face whoever the UFC put in entrance of him subsequent however in the end the promotion determined to do an instantaneous rematch now scheduled for July 11 on “Battle Island” in Abu Dhabi.

It seems Holloway didn’t even must request the combat as a result of he says it was Volkanovski who requested one other showdown with him because the Australian seeks to cement his championship standing.

“I didn’t ask for the rematch,” Holloway revealed when chatting with MMA Preventing. “I didn’t must. He requested for it.”

Automated rematches for former champions may be tough territory as a result of a second consecutive loss means the probabilities of getting a 3rd alternative in opposition to the identical fighter is just about unattainable.

In latest historical past solely Stipe Miocic has discovered success in an instantaneous rematch after he avenged a previous defeat to Daniel Cormier with a fourth-round TKO to reclaim the heavyweight title this previous August. Prior that, numerous former champions fell brief of their bids to win again the gold.

Frankie Edgar beat B.J. Penn to develop into champion after which solidified his standing as one of the best 155-pound fighter on this planet with one other win over the UFC Corridor of Famer. Edgar then suffered the identical destiny after he misplaced his title to Benson Henderson after which got here up brief in a razor-close resolution within the rematch.

Because the longest reigning middleweight champion in firm historical past, Anderson Silva undoubtedly deserved one other shot at Chris Weidman after falling to him of their first assembly. Sadly, the rematch led to devastating style after Silva broke his leg within the second spherical throughout a hanging change.

Holloway was truly chargeable for handing Aldo back-to-back losses after they met on two consecutive events as nicely.

Regardless of these odds seemingly stacked in opposition to him, the 28-year-old Hawaiian isn’t considering a lot about what this rematch means or the possibilities {that a} win would possible arrange a 3rd showdown with Volkanovski sooner or later.

“No strain,” Holloway mentioned. “I’m 0-Zero each combat. You understand this, my man.

“The subsequent combat is at all times an important one. That’s the way it works with the UFC – if you happen to’re truly asking for the hardest fights. They offer it to you if that’s what you need, and me. You understand what I at all times ask for.”

Whereas he’s downplaying the importance of the rapid rematch, Holloway is aware of how a lot is on the road when he units foot within the octagon this Saturday night time at UFC 251.

On high of all that, he needed to cope with a lower than ideally suited coaching camp as a result of COVID-19 outbreak that swept the globe and compelled Hawaiians to make plenty of shared sacrifices to decelerate the unfold of the lethal illness.

In reality, Holloway did nearly all of his work from home whereas chatting with his coaches over Zoom and with none sparring companions to push him for rounds at a time. He did keep wholesome, which is a change of tempo from the standard rigors of an intense coaching camp and Holloway is the final individual on this planet to make excuses, particularly contemplating what different individuals had been dealing with due to the coronavirus.

As a substitute of complaining, Holloway put his additional vitality in the direction of those that wanted it most.

“It’s going to be a protracted highway for Hawaii,” Holloway mentioned. “Unemployment is likely one of the highest within the U.S. as a result of we rely a lot on tourism. When issues received unhealthy we received hit up by dozens of charities. Most essential is individuals must eat, so we’re working with the Hawaii FoodBank. We’ve performed some issues already and we’ve a number of extra within the works. I hope to announce a pair extra large campaigns subsequent week.

“I received to spend extra time with [my family]. I received to reset. However yeah Hawaii is having a tough time. For my crew, we’ve prioritized charitable work so we’ve plenty of stuff within the pipeline now. It’s at all times on our record however now it’s half our record. It’s only a totally different world and we’ve a duty to Hawaii.”

Whereas COVID-19 spikes have began popping up once more all around the United States, Holloway is able to put his full consideration again on combating beginning together with his title bout this weekend.

If all goes nicely, Holloway will return house with a title to carry the spirits of his family and friends at house after which he hopes to make the featherweight division somewhat extra energetic once more.

“I’m at all times attempting to maintain a excessive tempo,” Holloway mentioned. “I fought my final 4 title fights in 12 months. If I gained at [UFC] 245 I most likely would’ve tried to combat on the March card to be sincere.

“So it’s what it’s. After I can dictate the tempo for the division, issues transfer sooner.”