UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has opened up about his struggles with depression in 2018 after a year that saw him battle demons outside of the realms of the octagon.
Max Holloway has slowly become one of the most popular and well-liked fighters in the sport of mixed martial arts today.
A gentleman outside of the octagon and an absolute savage within it, his ongoing win-streak has seen him defeat some of the finest fighters of the era on his way to challenging for the UFC interim lightweight title at UFC 236 this weekend.
In an interview given during fight-week, Max took a moment to focus on a more important battle he was able to emerge victorious in, though, a much more personal fight.
Speaking during a recent feature in Sports Illustrated, Holloway dove into the struggles he had after having something of a rocky 2018 by his own standards.
”Man, the last fight was emotional. The year leading up to that, I had a bunch of fights fall through, had a little depression. I was fighting somewhat of depression. It was just crazy to have a fight like that.
”The last year, part of my career, three fights that got pulled from me,” he added. “I got hurt. I got hurt. After that, doctors pulled me twice.
“It goes from a guy… I’m so used to fighting two to four times a year to only fighting one time a year now. I had no control or say in it. After that stuff that happened, I was thinking like, ‘Man, what if I don’t ever fight again?’ That’s what led into it.”
The former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz is a man who knows more about dealing with physical adversity than most.
In one of the all-time greatest MMA episodes of The Joe Rogan Experience podcast, he explained how beneficial it was for him to understand that there was more to life than fighting and being a champion – something that allowed him to grow as a person.
Continuing on, Holloway explains how he experienced something similar.
”I got to figure out other things in my life and do stuff. It was amazing. It was an amazing year. I grew a lot as a person. A true champion is not a guy who goes up there and can do champion stuff.
“A true champion is someone who can hit rock-bottom and come back up. This fight, April 13, next week, with Dustin, me and him, we had the highs, the lows that are lows in this sport, highs that are highs.
“Now we’re back at the highs of the highs, be able to fight for the 155lb gold, one of the most dangerous divisions.”
Holloway’s revenge mission against top lightweight contender Dustin Poirier promises to be one of the year’s very best showdowns.
If you want to read our official prediction, you can do so here.
Cillian Cunningham, Pundit Arena