Max Holloway didn't even have the interim featherweight title wrapped around his waist before UFC president Dana White was whispering to him about fighting in Brooklyn against Jose Aldo.
The proposed bout for UFC 208 on Feb. 11 was a topic of discussion immediately after Holloway knocked out Anthony Pettis to capture the title on Saturday night with Aldo waiting in the wings to face the winner.
On Monday, Aldo then told reporters in Brazil that he was already booked for the fight at UFC 208 against Holloway in a title unification bout.
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“He’s saying ‘where's Aldo?’, you have to talk to the UFC,” Aldo said. “About the fight in February, I already knew that, I only didn't know who I would fight. It was between him and Pettis, whoever won the fight. It’s not something new. This fight will happen on Feb. 11.”
Unfortunately, Aldo failed to confirm that date with Holloway, who was just as surprised to hear his next opponent say the fight is already booked for Feb. 11.
“It's news to me. I guess we found where Waldo is so I'm glad. It's time to see what happens. We're going to talk to the UFC, see what UFC says or see if he's just trying to (expletive) start some (expletive),” Holloway told FOX Sports.
“Like I said, I'm not planning on giving up Christmas and my son's birthday for something that's going to be booked and Feb. 11 comes up and we're going to be (expletive) looking at where's Jose Waldo.”
Holloway has expressed concerns whether or not Aldo will actually fight at UFC 208 given his history of pulling out of contests due to injury, especially considering he'd be sacrificing his holidays in favor of preparing for a second main event in just two months time.
The new interim champion also wonders where Aldo's head is at these days after a tumultuous few months where he asked for his release from the UFC before saying he would retire after not receiving a rematch with Conor McGregor.
“Jose got knocked out, Conor was doing his thing chasing Jose around forever. He finally got the fight, the 13-second (knockout) happened and Jose loses his mind,” Holloway said. “Gets the fight with Frankie (Edgar), which I think I should have had the fight at (UFC) 200 with him. They gave it to Frankie though, he wins and then he starts chasing Conor around. He can't get Conor so he says he's going to retire and play soccer and then he says and this is his words now, Jose says he doesn't want to fight the best anymore, he just wants money.
“He unretires, he gets the belt and now he wants to fight at 155. His head is all over the place. UFC needs to send his ass to the Cleveland Clinic. I've been going to the Cleveland Clinic, they've been checking my brain. His brain needs to be checked.”
Holloway makes it clear that he hasn't officially accepted any bout against Aldo at UFC 209 but it's a conversation he's willing to entertain once he sits down with his team and the executives at the UFC.
Holloway said on Saturday night that he wanted to speak to White and matchmaker Sean Shelby before making any decisions on his next fight and that meeting still has yet to happen.
“I've got to talk to my management, we've still got to talk to the UFC. The UFC still needs to plan that Cleveland Clinic appointment for him and we'll see what happens,” Holloway said.
“(Aldo) wants to be a soccer player, he wants to be a matchmaker now. I don't know what the hell that guy wants to do but he better figure it out real soon. He's going to find out soon enough. We're going to set something up with Dana (White) and the new owners and Sean (Shelby) and we're going to sit down and have a good talk I think.”
Looking at the calendar, Holloway also believes this is a calculated effort on Aldo's part to fight him just two months after he went through a rigorous training camp to prepare for Pettis at UFC 206.
If Holloway accepts the fight with Aldo on Feb. 11, he would have less than two months to prepare for the championship bout, especially considering he just got home on Sunday from winning the title 24 hours earlier.
“That guy is crazy. I just looked and it's eight weeks out already. That's why that mother (expletive) wants to fight,” Holloway said. “He wants me to be all drained out from two training camps in a row but that (expletive) ain't going to happen.
“Like I said, first things first, we're going to talk to the new owners and Sean Shelby and we're going to go from there. We'll see what happens.”
As much as Holloway wants to fight Aldo and unify the belts, he does have other commitments including a special trip he promised his son before leaving for Toronto to face Pettis last weekend.
Still, Holloway has never refused a call from White when he's needed the 25-year old Hawaiian to step up before but as of now, he still hasn't received the message that he's been officially offered the fight with Aldo at UFC 208 anyways.
“My son's birthday is in January and we've got Christmas and I promised him I would take him to Disneyland. We'll see what happens. I'm not trying to miss my son's birthday, I ain't about that life. I'm a father and I've got to do father things. I had to give up this Thanksgiving and my birthday and that was no fun,” Holloway said.
“Most of these fighters when Dana White and the UFC calls them and Dana's there saying 'can you hear me now?'. But when Dana calls me, I answer every damn time. You guys know that, the world knows that, all these true MMA fans know that.”