Max Holloway arrived at the UFC 212 press conference in Brazil today carrying a soccer ball.
It was meant as a present for featherweight world champion Jose Aldo.
“(Aldo) said he wanted to go ahead and play soccer when he is done fighting,” said Waianae’s Holloway, the interim 145-pound champion. “Come June 3rd, us Hawaiians like to give gifts and this gift is for his retirement.”
Holloway was joined with Aldo and Anderson Silva at a press conference promoting the June pay-per-view in Rio de Janeiro, headlined by a unification title fight between the top two ranked 145-pound fighters in the world.
Holloway defeated Anthony Pettis last December to win the interim title and set up the fight with Aldo, who was awarded the world title when Conor McGregor was stripped of the belt last November after moving up in weight.
Holloway (17-3, 13-3 UFC) has won 10 consecutive fights since a decision loss to McGregor in August 2013.
Aldo (26-2, 8-1) has had a belt on the line in all nine of his UFC fights. His only loss was against McGregor in December 2015 but he came back and won the interim title with a unanimous decision over Frankie Edgar in July 2016.
The two have gone back and forth hurling insults at each other leading up to the fight with Holloway accusing Aldo of ducking him.
“I’m over here and I’m talking facts,” Holloway said. “It is what it is and the truth hurts. It’s hurting his feelings.”
Aldo says the trash talk is all a part of selling the fight.
“That’s what sells fights and brings money. Today we’re in a generation that is totally different from when I started the sport,” said Aldo, 30. “Today if you don’t talk and don’t provoke, you’re not going to fight anywhere. You’re just going to stay at the end of the line.”
Holloway will fight Aldo in Aldo’s home country and said that after he wins, it’s time for him to fight on his own home turf.
“It would be a blessing to have the UFC in Hawaii,” Holloway said. “Everybody wants to come to Hawaii. Just pull the trigger. After everything is said and done, I can go home and defend the belt in front of my own people.”