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Max Holloway could require surgery if ankle rehab doesn’t convince doctors he’s cleared for UFC return

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Max Holloway is back on the mats ... but he’s not out of the woods just yet.

Despite “feeling great,” the reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight titleholder could still require surgery after blowing up his ankle earlier this year in training, an injury severe enough to boot him from the UFC 222 pay-per-view (PPV) event in Las Vegas.

During his absence, the division got turned on its head.

“We’ve got one more doctor’s meeting before everything, in like a month or so, and we’ll see what happens,” Holloway told The MMA Hour. “I don’t know when it is exactly, but that’s what we’re trying to do, we’re trying to get cleared. The surgery happens if the injury [rehabilitation] won’t hold up, so we’re waiting. The doctor gave us a certain timeline and we’re just playing it by ear now.”

Not long ago he wanted the knife, now he’ll do anything to avoid it.

The plan is to have Holloway throw down with undefeated contender Brian Ortega, who punched his ticket to a 145-pound title shot by punching Frankie Edgar — to the point of referee stoppage — when “T-City” filled in for the Hawaiian at the most recent PPV spectacle.

If “Blessed” does require surgery, the promotion could be looking at yet another interim strap, though I guess we should remain optimistic and hope that Holloway vs. Ortega is eventually booked for this card, as planned.