Holloway defended his 145lbs strap by putting on a show at the Scotiabank Arena on Saturday night as he beat Brian Ortega's face to a bloody pulp before forcing the stoppage prior to the final round.
It followed a breathless exhibition of pressure striking that overwhelmed the American challenger.
He was forced to pull out of his original bout with "T-City" at UFC 226 after demonstrating "concussion-like symptoms" at the open workouts. Holloway got hit a couple times but he was completely unfazed and he continued to overwhelm Ortega, whose left eye swelled up considerably in the round. Ortega came back in the third, connected with punches and nearly got Holloway to the ground. Fourth round wasn't good for him health-wise, and definitely not the fifth round.
"They're in their for our safety", he said of the cageside doctors.
In an interview with MMA Junkie, UFC President Dana White said that UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is too big to continue fighting in the division for much longer. Holloway tried, and failed to make 155lbs and face Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 when Tony Ferguson suffered a freak fight week injury, with Al Iaquinta eventually stepping in to face the Russian for the vacant title.
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"I commend the doctor here in Toronto for stopping that fight", White said.
"Dana White is the boss, and the boss is looking for superfights", Holloway said. I want to be the No. 1 pound for pound. If it's the guys at 155 pounds, let's do it. "If it's the baddest man, my good friend Daniel Cormier, let's do it!"
The lightweight division looks like Holloway's most likely destination, where a host of huge potential match-ups await.
Holloway, 27, had won his last 12 fights since an August 2013 loss via decision to Conor (The Notorious) McGregor.
"Toronto is the 10th Island but I'm ready for the UFC to take me home and let's do one in Hawaii".
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"We can get out of this cold weather and into some warm weather, and drinking mai tais on the beach".
In the night's co-main event, former bantamweight title challenger Valentina Shevchenko claimed a UFC world title at the second time of asking with a unanimous decision victory over long-time rival Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Conor McGregor and Jose Aldo might have a thing or two to say about but it's hard to deny Max Holloway his status as the greatest featherweight of all time.
Shevchenko's sharp counter-strikes and well-timed takedowns proved decisive as the 30-year-old earned scores of 49-46 on all three judges' scorecards. Jedrzejczyk, the former strawweight champion, moved up from 115 pounds and has a storied history against Shevchenko, having lost to her three times in Muay Thai fights.
"This is more valuable to me to get this belt from this kind of fight than with any other opponent".
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