UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has revealed that he has battled depression over the past year ahead of this Saturday’s title defence.

Since winning the 145 lbs title at the end of last year, Holloway was expected to continue his excellent form throughout 2018 but the Hawaiian fighter has yet to step into the Octagon this year.

Through injury, concerns over a short-notice weight cut and mysterious ‘concussion-like’ symptoms, however, Holloway has had three different fights cancelled over the course of 2018.

With ‘Blessed’ unable to fight until this weekends UFC 231 against Brian Ortega, Holloway has revealed to the UFC Unfiltered podcast that the tumultuous year had left him in a depressed state.

It took a little while to shake. I don’t know what it was exactly. I’m not too sure.

I try not to think about it too much cause these last couple times is kind of crazy. I was actually talking about depression. I didn’t even know what depression was before. I thought depression was stop feeling bad for yourself. Then I kind of went through it, having the year I had last year and then this year, it’s kind of crazy.

I’m here to say, the only way to get out of that is to bless yourself. You bless yourself and it’s you, keep continue to bless yourself, you can climb out of it. You can get out of it and don’t be scared to ask people for help

Everybody was trying to reach out to me. If I didn’t want to talk to you, I wouldn’t talk to you unless I called you. People blowing up my phone or whatever, I didn’t talk to no one. I just had my son and my family. I was like what the hell am I doing?

This is not something you fight alone. You’ve got to bless yourself for sure, it will get you to that point where you realize you need other people and I got great people in my life.

Holloway would also offer up some more words of encouragement for others suffering with depression on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show:

If you’re going through hard times, keep pushing through. You’re right there. People always tend to stop when they are right there. They are about to break through, but then they give up and don’t see the other side of it. Keep pushing, keep striving, keep grinding and keep working hard.

The only person who can get you out of that place is you. Get yourself out of there because it’s not a great place to stay. Remember to reach out to people. People love you. You can get through tough times. Tough times don’t last, but tough people do. Stay strong, keep up the good fight and keep going. We are all human. Even superheroes battle demons sometimes. You’re a superhero on your own.