Max Holloway Puzzled by Jose Aldo Saying He’s More Motivated Now Than Back at UFC 212

Max Holloway questions how Jose Aldo is suddenly more motivated for their rematch than the first fight back in June

Max Holloway knew he was facing the toughest test of his career when he stepped into Jose Aldo’s backyard to battle for the undisputed UFC featherweight title back in June.

Part of the reason why Holloway accepted the fight was because he knew this would be an impossibly difficult task to overcome considering Aldo was fighting in front of his hometown fans without having to travel anywhere but from his home a few miles away from the arena.

That’s what made Holloway’s victory back at UFC 212 that much more impressive because he faced the longest odds of his career and still managed to finish Aldo in the third round by TKO to become champion.

Now six months later, Holloway will face Aldo for a second time, albeit on shorter notice because he was originally scheduled to fight Frankie Edgar until an injury knocked him off the card.

While Aldo was training for a fight against Ricardo Lamas in December, he still ultimately had to bump up his training camp and prepare for a rematch with Holloway with only a few weeks to spare.

Still, Aldo explained earlier this week why he felt like this fight would turn out differently for him than what unfolded back in June.

“It’s going to be different because I’m motivated,” Aldo explained. “I’m very well trained right now. I’m really focused. I believe that it’s going to be a different ending from the first fight.”

It’s safe to say Holloway was absolutely baffled by that answer considering Aldo seemingly had every advantage and reason to win their first fight yet he still came up short.

Holloway is puzzled how Aldo is somehow more motivated now for a short notice fight in Detroit than he was for a hometown showdown back in June.

“This guy’s talking about motivation, how motivated he is for the belt. I have no idea when people talk about motivation. This guy, I fought him in his hometown this last one, he was the champion and for him to be saying motivation — now he feels way more motivated,” Holloway said. “If fighting for your country and fighting in front of your people, defending your belt is not enough motivation, what’s going on?

“This guy’s talking about motivation and stuff. It just blows my mind. I’m motivated. I don’t care if it was him. I don’t care who it was. I was ready for the next guy up and line them up and I’ll knock them down.”

For Holloway, he doesn’t need any reason to get motivated for a fight other than knowing there’s an opponent standing across the Octagon from him, ready to take his head off to get him ready.

Of course, Holloway is excited to defend his title for the first time and potentially eliminate the greatest featherweight fighter of all time from ever getting another shot at him if Aldo loses a second time, but none of that really matters right now.

Instead, Holloway is only thinking about fighting and defeating the opponent standing in front of him whether that’s Aldo, Edgar or anybody else the UFC throws at him. Holloway just wants to fight and that’s all the motivation he’ll ever need.

“I’m motivated. The belt is great. You know what comes with the belt? Bigger payday, pay-per-views and a lot more stuff but a belt is a belt. A fight is a fight,” Holloway said. “I ain’t trying to go out there and get my butt whooped in front of millions of people watching at home, thousands of people [in the arena]. That’s not what I’m about. I’m in the hurt business. I’m out there, I want to get mine and I want to win. I don’t care who I fight.

“I can fight this guy 10 times in a row, I’ll be motivated. That’s just who I am. It’s that 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 motivated, this and that. You’re in the wrong business.”

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Damon Martin is a veteran mixed martial arts journalist who has been covering the industry since 2003 with bylines on FOX Sports, CNN, Bleacher Report and numerous other outlets.