Max Holloway vs Khabib Nurmagomedov is perhaps the best matchup to ever be booked in UFC Lightweight history, only to be canceled. Max Holloway recently featured on UFC color commentator Joe Rogan's podcast, 'The Joe Rogan Experience', where he detailed all that went down before UFC 223.
Max Holloway was not the original competitor chosen to face Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC Lightweight title at UFC 223. Originally, it was 'El Cucuy' Tony Ferguson who was scheduled to face Khabib Nurmagomedov on April 7, 2018. Unfortunately, Ferguson had to pull out of the fight due to a knee injury, bringing about the fourth cancelation between the pair.
'Blessed' stepped in on 6 days' notice, while he was the UFC Featherweight champion, to face Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. However, Holloway was forced to withdraw from the competition after a botched weight cut. Detailing the series of events that led to his dismissal from the UFC 223 main card, Max Holloway told Joe Rogan -
"The first thing that happens when I land [in New York], I'm meeting with a a f***ing- not even a UFC doctor- a doctor from New York Commission. And then they told me, every single f***ing day, they're gonna check up on us. I was like, 'What the hell?' And I was fine, you know. I was kind of a little bigger than I used to be. I was slimming, slimming, slimming. And this is when we just got the New York thing... New York don't even want us there. They're looking for every single possible way to get rid of MMA over there. I get there, and I'm like four pounds over. It's tough, but I'm gonna get there... We have like hours left before the weigh-ins. They come in, they checked, they looked at me and said, 'You don't look good. You can't do it.' That's all that happened, and they walked off."
Who took Max Holloway's place to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223?
After Max Holloway was forced to pull out of the fight against Khabib Nurmagomedov, Al Iaquinta took his place. Iaquinta was originally scheduled to face Paul Felder on the UFC 223 card. But the lack of a back-up fighter landed Al Iaquinta a title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Only Khabib Nurmagomedov was eligible to win the championship, as Al Iaquinta weighed in at 0.2 pounds over championship limit (155 lbs).
'The Eagle' dominated Al Iaquinta the entire fight to become the king of the Lightweight division.