UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway knows he is a wanted man with a large target on his back.
But “Blessed” also believes in his skills.
Holloway scored a victory over Aldo earlier this year, improving his record to 18-3. That includes 11 consecutive wins since a 2013 decision loss to UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor.
The first encounter has also served multiple purposes for Holloway in the days and weeks leading up to the rematch with Aldo.
“He’s in for a fight. He’d be talking that I felt his power last time,” Holloway said during a recent appearance on UFC Tonight. “Well, last time, he felt my power. He was the one who got knocked down.
“I learned he was explosive, strong. I learned he’s a cool guy. But at the end of the day, we’ve got to punch each other in the face again and I’m excited for it.”
Holloway, who finished Aldo in the third round with a flurry of strikes in Brazil at UFC 212, knows that he can expect a series of nasty leg kicks to be delivered by the former champion.
“We were focusing on the first one,” he said. “He only did one, because when he does it, I cracked him. He keeps talking about his leg kick game. I hope he does. I want to fight the best Aldo ever and hope there are no excuses. He says he’s training boxing, so let’s it see Saturday.”
Holloway was the interim champion heading into that first meeting. He became the first American to win the UFC featherweight title with his performance and also tied the record for most knockouts and TKO finishes in the division.
He has also defeated the likes of Anthony Pettis, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens and Cub Swanson during his current run.
UFC 218 takes place Saturday night from the Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. The main card airs live on pay-per-view.