Barring an injury, Waianae’s Max Holloway will have to wait until 2016 to face a higher-ranked fighter in the UFC featherweight division.
The company announced Wednesday that Frankie Edgar, ranked No. 2 at 145 pounds, will fight Chad Mendes, ranked third, in the main event of the Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale on Dec. 11 in Las Vegas.
The next day, interim champion Conor McGregor and longtime titleholder Jose Aldo will unify the 145-pound belts at UFC 194, also in Las Vegas.
With No. 4-ranked Ricardo Lamas scheduled to fight Diego Sanchez on Nov. 21, that leaves all five fighters ahead of Holloway booked through the end of the year.
Holloway (14-3, 10-3 UFC), who won his seventh consecutive fight last Sunday, called out Edgar after beating Charles Oliveira by TKO.
Unless one of those fighters gets hurt and needs a replacement, Holloway will likely have to fight a lower-ranked opponent or wait.
The earliest he could get a shot at one of the winners would be February, but more likely even later, resulting in at least a six-month hiatus.
Since making his UFC debut in February of 2012, Holloway has never had to wait that long between fights.
He has expressed interest in fighting one more time this year.
Holloway is the first UFC fighter to notch 10 wins before turning 24.
Oliveira, who suffered a neck injury less than two minutes into the fight with Holloway on Sunday, was released from the hospital Tuesday according to the UFC.
In a statement, the UFC said, “Preliminary test results for major chest, neck or throat injuries were negative and Oliveira will have a follow up appointment with his local physician upon returning home. Oliveira is in good spirits and appreciates the support he’s received from his fans during this time.”