Holloway baffled by Aldo's mental state ahead of rematch at UFC 218

by
Vaughn Ridley / Getty Images Sport / Getty

If a title fight in his home country wasn't enough to motivate Jose Aldo in June, Max Holloway isn't so sure that a rematch in December will do the trick either.

The UFC featherweight champion dispatched Aldo in under three rounds to unify the divisional crown at UFC 212 in Brazil, but during a Tuesday conference call Aldo said his newfound status as challenger has motivated him to get the better of Holloway at UFC 218. The threat of being socked in the face and dethroned in front of thousands of Aldo's fellow countrymen should have been motivation enough though, as a baffled Holloway offered in rebuttal.

"This guy, we fought in his hometown, he was the champion, and for him to be saying that now he feels way more motivated; fighting for your country and fighting in front of your people for your belt is not enough motivation, what’s going on?" Holloway said. "I’m motivated. The belt is great. You know what comes with the belt? Better payday, pay-per-views, and a lot more stuff, but the belt is the belt. A fight is a fight.

"I could fight this guy 10 times in a row. I’ll be motivated. That’s just what it is. That’s this warrior spirit that I have in myself and this whole belief I have in myself. It doesn’t take much to motivate me. I don’t know why people talk about, 'It’s hard to get motivation.' You’re in the wrong business, man. In this business you can get hurt. There’s another guy trying to hurt you seriously in there. This guy’s talking about motivation. It just blows my mind."

With 11 straight victories over the past four years to his name, Holloway's diagnosis comes as little surprise, and with the chance to become the first man with two wins over arguably the greatest featherweight of all time just days away, he needn't be kicked in the hind parts to bring the best version of himself to the cage.

"At the end of the day this is a legacy fight. This is huge for legacy. Jose back to back. Nobody ever beat him twice. Me being the greatest featherweight champion is a long journey. This is a step. That was a stepping-stone. I’ve just got to focus. I got to focus on this one first and then I’ve got to get defenses. He’s got six or seven or eight of them."

The Hawaiian native meets Aldo in the main event of UFC 218 at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena on Dec. 2.

- With h/t to MMAjunkie