UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has had a rough 2018. As a result of some injuries and health scares, he’s been forced to withdraw from three separate fights.

UFC Star Max Holloway

These struggles have helped him grow as a person, says Holloway, but have also resulted in him experiencing depression. The 26-year-old Hawaiian star is getting set to headline UFC 231 in Toronto on Dec. 8, and a big reason he’s been able to step back in the cage was the influence led by NBA star DeMar DeRozan.

The current San Antonio Spur and former Toronto Raptor made an impact when he opened up about his struggles with depression earlier this year.

DeRozan’s words made an immediate impression on Holloway.

“DeRozan talked about depression and that really shook me,” Holloway said. “He said that he wished everybody was rich, [that] everybody had money so they could understand that money doesn’t make you happy.”

Holloway continued: “Depression is real and that really hit me hard. I was going through a phase where I wouldn’t talk to no one — only my son, like, me and my son would do stuff — if people was reaching out to me I was putting myself away and since I was in that situation now I’m able to talk about it. Now I can tell people, like, that’s not the way to do it. Talk to your family, talk to your friends, be with everyone because you don’t know when anything can change. Life changes on a dime. Live life to the fullest and don’t be scared to look for help. Depression is real.

“[People] keep forgetting us athletes, they keep thinking that we’re superheroes. I like to think I’m a superhero but superheroes gotta fight their demons too, sometimes.”

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