Max Holloway on how he trained for UFC 251 during quarantine, and why he took hiatus from doing media

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It is what it is. After competing in four title fights in twelve months and doing over 300 interviews during that span, Max Holloway has returned from a much needed break from fighting and media obligations.

After months of not hearing from him, former UFC featherweight champ, Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway (21-5 MMA, 17-5 UFC), spoke with ESPN ahead of his upcoming rematch against Alexander Volkanovski (21-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC).

“You know how much title fights I had last year? I had four title fights in twelve months. You know how much media that comes with (that)? We counted it. I did 300 interviews in twelve months. It’s tough. I know it’s your guys job, I feel bad not talking to you. (But), sometimes (I) just don’t want to talk, you know? I just want to play video games. Tune in to my live on Twitch or something, maybe you could get some questions in there,” Holloway told ESPN, Friday.

“I think it was just a time to reset, you know. I got to enjoy time with the family. I got to become a second grade teacher (for my son), and I found out how hard second grade math is.”

Max on training for UFC 251 during quarantine:

Being a resident of Hawaii, Holloway had to deal with a different set of circumstances than most for this training camp. He talked about how he did all of his training over Zoom calls, and how the potential of getting arrested was part of the reason why he chose to prepare the way he did for this championship rematch.

“The stay at home order in Hawaii was pretty serious. I know people were getting to gyms and stuff, but a lot of the way I was training was over Zoom. I didn’t get to get too much (coaching). The first time seeing my coaches was meeting them at the airport (before we left) for Vegas,” Holloway said to ESPN.

According to Holloway, as a result of the quarantine, and lack of training partners and places to train, he is coming into this fight healthier than usual, with no new injuries.

“It’s just how you adapt. I’m ready, we’re good. One thing I learned from this pandemic was actually noticing that sometimes in camp, we do overtrain our bodies. We do go over the line sometimes without even knowing, but us fighters, especially me, I get in that mindset like, ‘no I gotta get to the training, I gotta get to this class’, and actually I can say I didn’t get any new injuries. Every camp I used to get a new injury, and I usually tell you guys I don’t have none because that’s us fighters, but I really dont have any new injuries. I just have the same old injuries and it’s really nagging injuries, nothing serious. It’s just great. I can’t wait to go out there and show the world, and get this blessed hair-a (era) in full effect,” Holloway said.

Despite the odd set of circumstances surrounding his upcoming fight, Holloway believes that this was one of the best camps he’s had to date.

“If we got caught at the gym, we could have all gotten arrested. So we just did it smart, we did what we could. I stayed home and did a bunch of training at home. (We) did what we could do, and the only thing really that I was missing in this camp was this treadmill that I usually use, but we figured it out. And I think this is one of the best camps I’ve ever had.”

As for sparring and training partners, Holloway says that he did all of his training solo, without any sparring or partners.

“No sparring at all,” Holloway said. “I actually kind of liked it, I kinda like not sparring. (This) was my first time not sparring. I was a big believer in sparring, I was always about sparring. I love sparring. But this camp actually opened my eyes. I’m at a point in my career where I know how to punch, I know how to kick, I know how to apply it, so why spar?”

Despite the lack of one on one and in person training for this fight, Holloway is maintaining a warriors mindset leading into the rematch. Stating that real gladiators don’t fold or postpone battles due to outside circumstances.

Holloway and Volkanovski are scheduled to co-headline UFC 251 along with two other title fights on Sat., July 11, in Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, also known as UFC fight island.

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