Max “Blessed” Holloway didn’t just defeat José Aldo at UFC 212 to become only the third featherweight champion in UFC history. He beat Aldo badly.
After surviving early flurries from Aldo, Holloway put on a beautiful striking display that dropped the legendary champion. After some ground work, Holloway earned the TKO victory over one of the greatest featherweight fighters in history.
Now, as the UFC enters the “Blessed Era,” according to Holloway, it’s time to appreciate the new champ who is about to reign over the featherweight division. The pride of Hawaii, Holloway, who is just 25 years old, was quoted as saying, “I’m not racing through the division. I’m cleaning it out. If I haven’t fought you, come get it.”
That quote alone shows that the featherweight division is in a new place after almost two years of being held hostage by former champion Conor McGregor, who played by his own set of rules. Holloway has made it clear that he isn’t running from the division. He doesn’t care who they put in front of him. All he has really asked for is that the UFC give him a fight in his native Hawaii.
It must come as not only a sigh of relief, but also as a breath of fresh air for the UFC to have Holloway as the new titleholder. He’s a champion who knows that he’s here to stay and is willing to fight anyone who he hasn’t faced before. He is also willing to go back and fight contenders who he defeated previously on his path to the top.
The featherweight division now gets an opportunity to let it all go and have the best of the best fight each other. The champion seems ready to accept any and every challenge thrown his way. It may be too much to call Holloway a company guy, but one thing is for sure: he’s a pure fighter. The division no longer has to be clouded over by the ghost of McGregor, and no longer will Aldo have to be known as “the guy McGregor knocked out in 13 seconds.”
For now, the attention turns to what’s next for Holloway inside the Octagon. While top contenders Cub Swanson and Frankie Edgar have gone back and forth at each other over who’s most deserving of a title shot, the champ awaits his next fight contract.
Despite sitting at 0-4 in his last four title fights, Edgar is the fight to make with Holloway, no matter where in the world it takes place. Edgar most recently defeated young rising star Yair Rodriguez at UFC 211 and lost his last title opportunity to Aldo at UFC 200.
Edgar has yet to fight Holloway. Meanwhile, Holloway has made some history as the first guy to ever stop Anthony Pettis. Holloway put on a show against Aldo, too. And in a fight against Edgar, he’d have a chance to become the first guy to stop the former lightweight champion.
It’s a “Blessed Era” in the featherweight division. It’s a breath of fresh air to other top contenders. It’s a great opportunity for the UFC. Most importantly, it’s Max Holloway’s time.