January 2014. Max Holloway was coming off back-to-back decision losses to Dennis Bermudez and Conor McGregor, and he felt as if his job was on the line if he dropped a third fight against Will Chope in Singapore.
He didn’t lose that fight. Instead, the Hawaiian fought with a vicious intensity, picking up Knockout of the Night honors for his second-round stoppage of Chope. The win began a nine-fight winning streak that not only took him to the top of the featherweight division, but also landed him an interim title fight against Anthony Pettis this Saturday in Toronto.
But surprisingly, Holloway still is training as if he’ll be fighting for his roster spot.
“My mindset is the same,” he said. “Who knows nowadays? You can get cut at any second. So I feel the same (as I did in 2014). My back’s against the wall. Not too many guys get to have a title fight and then get to fight for a title again. So this is my opportunity, and I’ve gotta have that back against the wall mentality, and I have to be the hungrier wolf and try to get after it.
“So my mindset didn’t change, and it’s what keeps me going. Every fight, I look at it as if I’m going in 0-0. What happened in the past happened in the past, and you’ve got to focus on the right now. Dec. 10th, I’m going for 1-0, and I’m going to come back a little bit heavier to the Hawaiian islands.”
Thumbnail photo via Tom Szczerbowski/USA TODAY Sports Images