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Max Holloway foresees going ‘back to back’ in sudden UFC 218 rematch fight with Jose Aldo

Max Holloway, left, and Jose Aldo get in each other's face on Nov. 30 in Detroit during media day for UFC 218.
(Carlos Osorio / Associated Press)

Max Holloway claims that for the sake of self-motivation he needs to summon short-term memory loss about his June 3 knockout victory over Jose Aldo.

“I have no idea what you’re talking about. I’m lost. I have to be Dory,” Holloway says, referring to the forgetful “Finding Nemo” character.

After Holloway (18-3) landed 128 strikes to Aldo’s 56 to become featherweight champion by third-round knockout in Aldo’s home country of Brazil, the new champion has to meet Aldo (26-3) again Saturday night in the main event of the UFC 218 pay-per-view card.

“He’s saying he’s coming with new tricks. I know I’m coming with new tricks,” Holloway, 25, told the Los Angeles Times this week. “It’s a different fight. A new me, a new him and I can’t wait to do this thing. I’m getting ready for the best Aldo, but I hope he better be ready for the best me.

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“It’s a passing of the torch, and I’m going to be running with it for a long time.”

Aldo has claimed “this fight’s going to be different” after he wasn’t feeling right before the loss, but has “now recovered,” prompting Hawaii’s Holloway to respond, “You can’t lie when you get in there.”

Aldo stepped in for Holloway’s scheduled opponent, Frankie Edgar, when Edgar was fallen by an injury. The UFC’s longtime featherweight champion surrendered the belt in a quick 2015 knockout loss to current lightweight champion Conor McGregor before defeating Edgar last year.

Asked if he believes if this is his final chance to reunite with the belt, Aldo said, “No, but I will write a different story this time and get my title back. … I’m going to smash him from beginning to end. I’m going for it.”

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Holloway lost to McGregor in 2013, but has won 11 consecutive fights since, and in a meeting akin to former middleweight champion Chris Weidman’s successful rematch triumph over long-reigning champion Anderson Silva, Holloway stands to receive a massive boost in credibility if he can repeat victory.

“This is a legacy fight,” Holloway said. “It’d be nice to taste a new flavor, but this one is good. Aldo has a legacy, so now I’m going to be like Drake and go back to back.

“It gets my bank account bigger, my fan base bigger and I get more sponsors. That’s always good. I see great things ahead — king of Hawaii, king of the world.”

McGregor has been out of a UFC octagon since November 2016 after boxing Floyd Mayweather Jr. in August.

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“He got a couple million dollars, and I think it’s gone to his head,” Aldo said of his longtime rival.

With McGregor’s absence combined with light-heavyweight Jon Jones stripped of his title for a positive drug test, the personable Holloway is capable of filling a void in the organization’s roster of stars.

“I want to be on the cover of the video game. I want to be the best, I want to be the guy everybody’s talking about — the record breaker,” Holloway said. “Get on the bandwagon now.”

Another man with breakout potential is heavyweight Francis Ngannou, 31, who meets Alistair Overeem in the co-main event. The winner should get a title shot at champion Stipe Miocic.

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The 6-foot-4, 250-pound Ngannou overcame a rough childhood in Cameroon and quickly gravitated to MMA after first pursuing boxing.

In dealing with the veteran Overeem, Ngannou said experience “doesn’t mean [Overeem] will win the fight. I have weapons, too. … It’s not just power, because everyone in the heavyweight division has enough to knock people out. It’s about precision, speed, work.”

The card also features an intriguing lightweight bout between former champion Eddie Alvarez and unbeaten Justin Gaethje (18-0).

lance.pugmire@latimes.com

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@latimespugmire


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