Max Holloway takes wait-and-see approach to UFC 300 fight vs. Justin Gaethje: ‘It’s just different’

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Max Holloway takes wait-and-see approach to UFC 300 fight vs. Justin Gaethje: ‘It’s just different’

If Max Holloway’s main message heading into UFC 300 could be boiled down to three words, it might just be this: Wait and see.

For the second time in his career, the former UFC featherweight champion will compete at lightweight when he takes on Justin Gaethje for the BMF title on the April 13 pay-per-view card at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.

The last time Holloway made this move, it was five years ago to the day of UFC 300 – and things didn’t go his way when he fought Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title at UFC 236. The fight was mostly one-way traffic, with Poirier winning a unanimous decision by scores of 49-46 across the board.

What should fans expect to be different from Holloway this time around?

“I feel bigger, I feel stronger, I feel faster, mentally, physically – physically I feel good,” Holloway told MMA Junkie. “You guys are gonna see a difference. You guys are gonna see a difference here in a little bit. Weigh-ins day, you guys are all gonna see. Even when we get in there with Justin, you guys are gonna see the difference.”

While Holloway isn’t one to make excuses, he did point out that he accepted the rematch with Poirier – Holloway also lost to him at featherweight in 2012 – on just six weeks’ notice. That’s not the case here as the UFC 300 showdown with Gaethje was booked in January.

“Everybody keeps talking about the Poirier fight; I hate bringing it up,” Holloway said. “But like I said, we had six weeks to get ready for that. That’s barely a fight camp. That’s not even a fight camp. That’s kind of crazy. This time we doubled that. We just had time. We had time on our side for this one. There’s a lot of questions that people have been asking, and I can’t wait to (give) them answers April 13.”

He continued, “I ain’t gonna make no excuses now or never. I felt like all the time that we had, we did the right steps, we did the right thing, and I went out there, and I felt like I did well in that fight. I felt like we got through the first couple rounds, didn’t look too well, but I figured it out, and we got it going in there. But at the end of the day, we didn’t get our hand raised. You know, I sound like a f*ckin’ little sore-ass loser, bro. That ain’t me.”

Unlike five years ago in the Poirier rematch, Holloway expects to have success against Gaethje as he’s taken the right measures to prepare himself physically and mentally for what could be Fight of the Night.

“I felt good with that second Dustin Poirier fight. We did the right things with the time that we had. I felt like it was a fun fight, it was a great fight, we did well, but this fight (vs. Gaethje) is just different,” Holloway said. “It’s just different. Five years literally to the date, I believe, and you guys get to see the difference. I’m excited that I get to share the octagon with a future Hall of Famer like Justin Gaethje, and you guys get to see, man. You guys get to see the difference. No more talking, we’re a little under two weeks away, and I can’t wait to show you guys.”

After losing a third title fight against then-145-pound champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 276, Holloway rattled off two consecutive victories in 2023 – a unanimous decision against Arnold Allen and a knockout of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung.

A victory over Gaethje could secure Holloway a title shot vs. recently crowned featherweight champ Ilia Topuria – or it could make him rethink his career path at lightweight.

Just wait and see.

For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 300.

Max Holloway takes wait-and-see approach to UFC 300 fight vs. Justin Gaethje: ‘It’s just different’