Unlike many of the athletes on the UFC roster at the time who came into MMA as specialists and then expanded their knowledge, Holloway wasn’t a college wrestler who learned how to strike or a kickboxer who picked up Brazilian jiu-jitsu out of self-preservation. He represented something new: a generation that started training after fighters had figured out how to blend all the combat traditions of the world together, during that golden age when no-holds-barred fighting had evolved into mixed martial arts and what had been little more than a carnival sideshow became a sport.
Holloway and his contemporaries embodied the full realization of a whole new art form. And within a few years of his UFC debut, Holloway (20-4) was one of its greatest practitioners, a rough sketch who had grown into an artist before our very eyes.
Holloway’s challenger this Saturday in Edmonton, Edgar (23-6-1), represents the age of MMA that preceded Holloway’s. He’s a college wrestler who had to grow into a mixed martial artist, a man who fought his first professional fight when Holloway was still in middle school. That Edgar is still competing at 37 years old and after 15 years as a professional is remarkable. That he’s still a contender for a UFC belt is some kind of miracle. Yet here he is: the former lightweight champion finally getting his shot at the best of the new band that’s trying to take the sport away from him.
Holloway might be 10 years younger and five inches taller and he may fight with all the brazenness of youth. He may be the undisputed featherweight champion of the world and he may represent the future of mixed martial arts. But Edgar has the kind of rough knowledge that only comes with experience and all the stubbornness of age that has no intention of ceding the future to anyone.
(Click on the fight below and then scroll down to see in-fight live stats and full results, courtesy of Fight Analytics. The first UFC 240: Holloway vs. Edgar bout from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, is scheduled to begin on Saturday, July 27, at 7 p.m. ET / 4 p.m. PT.)
The Ultimate Fighting Championship this week makes its second trip to Edmonton, Alberta, Canada, for UFC 240: Holloway vs. Edgar.
UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway puts his title on the line opposite former lightweight titleholder Franke Edgar in a bout that has been several years in the making. Holloway and Edgar have agreed to fight twice prior with each of those bouts being cancelled because of injury to one or the other fighter. They and the UFC are now hoping that the third time is a charm and both fighters make it to the Octagon.
Holloway is in the unusual position of being a UFC champion, but entering a fight coming off of a loss. He failed at UFC 236 to defeat Dustin Poirier in a battle for the interim lightweight title. The Hawaiian hasn’t lost at featherweight since a decision loss to Conor McGregor in 2013. He has since gone on a run of 13 consecutive victories at 145 pounds.
Having been the UFC lightweight champion, Edgar has been trying to capture the featherweight title ever since moving down to the 145-pound division in 2013. He has twice fought Jose Aldo for the belt, but failed to defeat him on both occasions. Edgar will be hoping that not only is the third time a charm in getting to the cage with Holloway, but also in his attempt to win the UFC featherweight championship.