‘There is a bit of pressure,’ UFC 245 will be a tough test for champions Kamaru Usman and Max Holloway
Men’s welterweight and featherweight championship will be defended at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas while Amanda Nunes would look to cement her legacy when she puts her bantamweight title on the line against Germaine de Randamie.Updated: Dec 15, 2019 15:35 IST
The year 2019 is going to end with a bang for the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). After no title fights in the previous event (if we discount the BMF belt), UFC has pulled out all its aces in the pack by giving the fans not one but three championship bouts at UFC 245. Men’s welterweight and featherweight championship will be defended at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas while Amanda Nunes would look to cement her legacy when she puts her bantamweight title on the line against Germaine de Randamie.
Fans are getting an early Christmas present from ‘Uncle Dana’ and would be eagerly looking forward to the morning of December 15th. The main event of UFC 245 would see a long-awaited fight between welterweight champion Kamaru Usman and controversial challenger Colby Covington. Tensions have been brewing between Usman and Covington for almost a year now with heated words being exchanged on a regular basis. It will be the first UFC title defense of Usman’s career and he would be hoping to rise above the pressure against a dangerous wrestler in Covington.
“There’s no pressure coming from myself. Of course, there’s always added pressure from fans because people are always looking to try to make you less than who you are and not give you that respect that you deserve,” Usman admitted.
“So yeah, in that sense there is pressure. But me personally, I know what I’m capable of, I know the level that I’m at and I know the heights that I’ve reached. So, personally not but for everyone else and all the outside factors there is a bit of pressure.”
Usman has been on a roll since joining the MMA giants and is on a 14-fight win streak in his career. He has been unbeaten in the UFC and would look to continue that run when he defends his title against Covington.
If Usman is on a 14-fight win streak, then featherweight challenger Alexander Volkanovski has won 17 straight fights. It looked like challengers were finishing for Max Holloway in the division until ‘The Great’ outclassed featherweight legend Jose Aldo. It was a statement victory for the Australian and it propelled him to a title fight against Holloway. So what was it like facing a legend of the game like Aldo and that too in Brazil? Volkanovski admits that it was just another job for him.
“In the Octagon he was another job. Obviously, after I got the job done, I got really sulking, the reality really hit hard that ok I won. But going into these fights, I just go in as another job, another body in front of me, another game plan that I need to execute, that’s all I am worried about, that ton of vision, at a time.”
Volkanovski just doesn’t win fights, he finishes them. He has seven first-round finishes and also has an average fight time of just 12.20 minutes. But Holloway is not a punching bag. Holloway’s average fight time is 13:37 minutes and he holds the UFC record for most significant strikes landed. On top of that, Holloway landed an astonishing 290 significant strikes in his last fight against Brian Ortega. So it will be a difficult match-up for Volkanovski and he also feels that it is a very important fight for him.
“It means a successful future for my family. Family is everything that has made me. This my job, is the career path I chose, I am winning for that and I am built for it,” Volkanovski said.
Volkanovski also explained how he has prepared for the fight against one of the best in the game.
“Preparing myself in the preparation for the fight is the hard part, so I just came through this, and the training for this, nothing gets harder than that. So in the cage what war me and Max get into, that’s going to be hard. So I am putting myself in a very very uncomfortable position and I am getting in a form so that’s just going to be the case so if we get down and dirty for more than 5 rounds, I’ll be more than ready.”
Even though Holloway has faced the best of the best, he is not underestimating the threat of Volkanovski.
“He fought all those in real and he got it done he did enough to win the decision, he is the number one contender now and I get to see him on Saturday night in the Octagon. My training has been the same, we got a bunch of question that he presents and we can’t wait to wait to answer, and I am just getting anxious and anxiety.”
Holloway has only one target in mind and that is too be the MMA GOAT. He has no problem in facing any fighter UFC puts in front of him.
“I just want to be the best mixed martial artist ever and whoever’s goal is that I am sure we are going to run into each other or probably UFC will be putting him in front of me to get and go.”
It’s just not the title fights that UFC 245 has to offer. Aldo will be coming down to the bantamweight division to face former challenger Marlon Moraes. Another bout to look forward to will be 40-year-old Uriah Faber’s fight against rising star Petr Yan.
You can watch all the exciting action from UFC 245 in India on 15th December 2019 from 08:30 am (IST) on SONY TEN 2 & SONY TEN 2 HD (English), SONY TEN 3 SD & SONY TEN 3 HD (Hindi).