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Holloway Welcomes Aldo Sequel; Motivated Aldo Planning Different Result


When featherweight champion Max Holloway received a call that his opponent at UFC 218 was changing, he never once blinked or wavered on his desire to perform in front of the crowd in Detroit on Dec. 2.

The UFC ultimately decided on Holloway facing Jose Aldo in a rematch after defeating the longest reigning featherweight champion in company history back in June.

Considering Holloway won the first fight by third-round TKO, it could be easily understood if he wasn't as motivated to face Aldo a second time, especially just six months after their first fight.

Once again, Holloway didn't blink. He just said yes.

"I got blessed with Jose. I get to prove to everybody why I'm the best in the world and Dec. 2 is going to be a fun night," Holloway said during a media conference call on Tuesday.

"I get to make history. I made history in Brazil, I get to make history in Detroit now. I didn't care who it was, as long as I got to fight. I'm not a matchmaker. I'm a fighter. Right now, that's what I focus on, fighting. You put them in front of me, like I said, line them up, I'm going to knock them down."

@BlessedMMA #UFC218

— UFC (@ufc) November 21, 2017

For Aldo, this was a dream come true to be able to try and rectify the mistakes that were made in the last fight while also attempting to reclaim the featherweight title from the man who took it from him.

Aldo is confident that he's not only ready to step up to the challenge to accept a short notice title fight, but he's fully prepared to execute the game plan that will avenge one of only two losses he's suffered in the past decade.

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

Of course it's not lost on Aldo how huge this moment could be for his career and for his legacy considering immediate rematches are fairly rare in the history of title fights in the UFC.

Add to that, Aldo is stepping into a fight inside the Octagon as a challenger facing a champion for the first time in his career. Aldo did compete for an interim title at UFC 200 when he defeated Frankie Edgar, but neither one of them entered the bout as an incumbent champion.

This time, Aldo will make his walk to the Octagon first and he will have to hear Holloway's name announced as the reigning, defending and undisputed featherweight champion and that stokes a whole new kind of fire inside of him.

"There's not many people that are able to come back and win the title again. I've done that and for me to be able to come back and do that again would mean a lot to my legacy," Aldo said.

"He was coming in as the champion right now, he was the challenger before. Now I'm the guy who's going in there and challenging to win the belt again. That's really what's motivating me. To be able to re-accomplish this and get my belt back."

Building on his legacy.@JoseAldoJunior #UFC218

— UFC (@ufc) November 21, 2017

As much as Holloway respects Aldo as an opponent and former champion, he can't quite understand how he's more motivated now than he was for their first fight in June.

On that date, Aldo was the defending featherweight champion, performing in front of a raucous arena in front of his hometown fans in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. If that wasn't enough to put on the best performance of his career, Holloway can't imagine Aldo's mindset going into their rematch.

"This guy's talking about motivation, how motivated he is for the belt," Holloway said. "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.

"If fighting for your country and fighting in front of your people, defending your belt is not enough motivation, what's going on?"

While Holloway can't claim to know what exactly is going on inside Aldo's head, he's more than ready to answer the charge about his motivations going into the rematch.

As much as Holloway wants to leave the sport as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, the only thing he needs to get ready for a fight is somebody standing across the Octagon from him and Aldo fits the bill.

"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."