LAS VEGAS – Max Holloway is one of the most decorated featherweights in UFC history, and despite no longer holding the crown, it seems he’s never too far from title contention. But if victorious at UFC Fight Night 197, Holloway says another crack at Alexander Volkanovski isn’t necessarily his top priority.
“I mean, at the end of the day, I’ve got five title wins, and I mean, my sixth title win, would I want it against Alex?” Holloways asked reporters, including MMA Junkie, at Wednesday’s media day at the UFC Apex. “For sure, you know, but UFC discussed with us a bunch of stuff.
“I’ve got a win over the 155 champ. Right now, I’m on a very short list for Conor McGregor – always – and you know, I’m the best boxer in the UFC. So, you know, in times like these, with these wild fights being made, you know, let you guys use your guys’ imagination. That’s all I’m going to say about it.”
Holloway did defeat current lightweight champ Charles Oliveira back in 2015, though the Brazilian is set to put the belt on the line at next month’s UFC 269. Of course, Holloway has history with Oliveira’s opponent, Dustin Poirier, as well, dropping a 2019 decision to “The Diamond” in a failed bid for an interim lightweight belt.
Holloway also served as McGregor’s second UFC opponent way back in 2013, and the two have been linked together for a rematch ever since.
“I’ll probably be going to Twitter wars with him until we’re 60,” Holloways said with a laugh. “Who knows? I mean, like, we’re so competitive. That’s just how it is, you know what I mean, and I’ve got nothing but respect for him, but it’s competitive – we understand what it takes to be here and to actually compete at this level, and who doesn’t like some banter? You know, I mean, banter is fun, you know, and we’re in the business of entertainment, too, so it’s always good fun.”
Of course, all of that talk about future possibilities could be dashed if Holloway (22-6 MMA, 18-6 UFC) doesn’t deliver on Saturday, when he takes on Yair Rodriguez (13-2 MMA, 8-1 UFC) in the main event of UFC Fight Night 197, which streams live on ESPN+ from the UFC Apex.
Layoff over, Yair Rodriguez ready to jump out of plane (figuratively) and fight Max Holloway
UFC selects Max Holloway for 2021 Forrest Griffin Community Award
The two were originally scheduled to compete in July before injury forced Holloway to reschedule the matchup, and “Blessed” said he’s now had plenty of time to prepare himself for the challenge.
“The closest I fought to Yair is (Anthony) Pettis, you know, and I think Yair is a little bit more spinny, a little bit more jumpy, and super explosive,” Holloway said. “You’ve got to respect that. He does have knockouts where it’s like it doesn’t look too good and he gets ’em, you know? So at the end, I’ve got nothing but respect for Yair, but come Saturday in the afternoon, he’s the one standing against me.
“I had to do three camps for this guy because I was doing one camp, I got hurt, and after the injury, all my coaches were nervous. It was like, ‘You better do a mini-camp to see if the injury can handle the stress.’ Then actually it did, and then we actually went into a real camp, so somebody’s going to have to pay for that, and on Saturday night, I got the perfect victim, I guess.”
On paper, the clash looks like it should entertain, at least as long as it lasts. Both fighters have shown a penchant for finishing opponents, and Holloway thinks the contest should provide fireworks.
“This is the type of fight that I tell you guys all the time – you know, if you got colleagues, friends, families or whoever it may be trying to get into MMA, trying to get them to watch UFC, you make them tune in on Saturday,” Holloway said. “We’re going to get new fans, and you’re welcome in advance because you’re going to have a new buddy to be watching UFC fights with.”
But in the aftermath, don’t be surprised if Holloway isn’t actively calling for a third fight with Volkanovski. While he wouldn’t reveal exactly what he’s hoping for next, Holloway made it clear he’s got some options.
“I mean, I can’t say nothing, you know,” Holloway said. “I mean, all I can say is just be ready, man. Use you guys’ imaginations because it’s going to be a great ride.”
Photos: Max Holloway through the years
view 73 images