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Max Holloway advises fighters to stop sparring: ‘You guys only get one brain, save it’

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“If I got to tell an up-and-comer coming: be smart. Figure out a way of taking less damage. You want to be in this game for a long time.”

Max Holloway has credited his success at UFC Fight Island 7 due to a lack of sparring in training camp.

Holloway thrashed No. 6-ranked featherweight Calvin Kattar despite undergoing no sparring prior to the bout and has advised his fellow fighters to do the same.

Holloway, who landed a record-breaking 445 strikes on his opponent, used to think that sparring gave him a competitive advantage in the octagon but, after putting on the performance of his career on Saturday night, ‘Blessed’ has done a complete 180 and eliminated sparring from his training regimen completely.

The former UFC featherweight champion told reporters at the post-fight press conference that fighters should prioritise their brain health and center their training on long-term success above anything else.

“Save y’all chickens right here,” Holloway said following his lopsided decision win over Kattar (h/t Clyde Aidoo of MMA News). “You guys only get one brain. Save it. You guys don’t need to do it. You sparred enough. You trained enough. You know how to punch someone. You know how to slip a punch. Why even take unnecessary damage before the main game, you know? That’s just the way I think. And everybody who keep telling me that I should be training, no! I been training, baby!”

“Please, protect you guys’ head. If I got to tell an up-and-comer coming: be smart. Figure out a way of taking less damage. You want to be in this game for a long time.”

Holloway returned to fine form after suffering back-to-back losses to Alexander Volkanovski and losing his featherweight title. The 29-year-old fan favorite is currently #1 in the UFC featherweight rankings but will have to win another fight before he’s eligible for another title shot.