Arnold Allen isn’t too bummed about missing out on the an interim title fight, because he believes fighting Max Holloway is even better.
UFC 284 proved to be a major event in the featherweight division. Undisputed champion Alexander Volkanovski tried (and failed) to win the lightweight title from Islam Makhachev while Yair Rodriguez claimed the interim featherweight title with a second-round submission win over Josh Emmett. The latter matchup left Allen, currently the No. 4-ranked featherweight in the UFC, as the odd man out of the 145-pound title picture. Allen now faces Holloway in the main event of UFC Kansas City on April 15. To hear him tell it, things worked out rather well.
“It was the matchup I was hoping for when they announced the interim fight,” Allen said on The MMA Hour. So I wasn’t surprised. I expected it. But then the UFC doesn’t always do what you expect. They sometimes come out of nowhere with one, and I am like “Hang on, what’s the deal?” But I felt relieved because it was the best alternative that didn’t involve an interim title shot. This is a bigger opportunity for me than the one they offered.
” All respect to Yair. But Max won the last match.”
“Regarding the fights with Volkanovski, it’s also a good thing,” Allen said. Max Holloway looks even more impressive with Alex, so I scored Max the second one. How competitive he’s been. Although the fight was not very exciting, they were very close. Volkanovski has gained weight against an opponent that no one wants to fight. He looked incredible and won .”
Holloway, one of UFC’s most successful fighters with three title defenses and numerous records to his credit, is Holloway. He lost the belt to Volkanovski at UFC 245 and then lost another controversial fight six-months later, prompting a trilogy bout at UFC 276, which Volkanovski won convincingly.
This performance combined with his long career as a professional and many hard-fought battles has made some wonder if Holloway’s health is declining despite being young. Allen admits this could be true, but he doesn’t expect it to happen.
“He’s only human,” Allen said. The damage must catch up with you. He’s not much older than me, but he’s been in crazy fights for a long time against top-tier athletes. Although he’s done a lot, he takes just as much damage as he gets. It’s difficult to know. Volkanovski takes some serious damage and is there to take it. His fights have been better, and he has improved his performance. Therefore, I am preparing to be the best. “I’m training to be the best.”
Allen is undefeated in the UFC, with a 9-0 record in the promotion and three “Performance of the Night” bonuses. He’s had a difficult time building momentum towards a title shot, as injuries and poor luck keep him from the top.
These ongoing worries may limit him, as his lack of consistency in recent times makes him less likely to be a champion.
“It’s not been brought up to me, but I’m sure that’s a thing,” Allen said when asked if this Holloway fight was a chance to prove that he can fight multiple times a year. They don’t want any champion who is always absent because he has an injury or on vacation. I’m never on holiday [laughs], but for sure. Definitely.
” I would love that. That’s what I have always wanted, and as I mentioned in interviews before, sometimes it isn’t my fault when fights fail. In reality, I have seen people withdraw and things not go according to plan. It’s not a good idea to do stupid things. It’s not always my fault [laughs].”
Injuries nearly reared their head again for this matchup, as the UFC originally wanted Allen to compete on the upcoming UFC 286 card in London, however, “Almighty” was unavailable as he was still working through some minor issues.
Now, fully recovered, Allen is just grateful not to be on the outside looking in.
” I was certainly worried,” Allen stated. You can’t turn down good chances too often and not get them again. So you could say I’m ‘Blessed’ to get the opportunity again [laughs].”
UFC Kansas City takes place at the T-Mobile Center in Kansas City, Mo.