Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway is ready to take his rivalry with Alexander Volkanovski to the next level.
“Blessed” is set to face the Australian champion for a third time at UFC 276, and Holloway sat down with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto during fight week to discuss the matchup.
As merciless as he is in the cage, Holloway has established himself as one of the sport’s nicer figures outside of it. After ten rounds of fighting with a possible five more on the way, Okamoto couldn’t help but ask if the two featherweights had established any sort of friendship.
The 30-year-old wouldn’t go so far as to say Volkanovski was his friend, but he did take the opportunity to extend a challenge.
“Why not? You know fighting is my part-time job, and I’m a full-time streamer, and I play video games,” Holloway answered. “I heard he plays a little video games, so why not? People been saying I should get him in my lobby on Call of Duty when I play. I play Apex now, though, I don’t know if he plays Apex. We’ll see what happens.”
Volkanovski last defended his title in a one-sided fight with Chan Sung Jung, who stepped in for an injured Holloway. (Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC)
The Hawaiian spent several years as the UFC’s featherweight king before losing a unanimous decision to Volkanovski in 2019. An immediate rematch ended in a narrow split-decision loss for Holloway, but he’s not about to let an 0-2 record against “The Great” cost him a chance to win elsewhere.
“It is what it is, bro. Whatever goes into the Octagon, I don’t bring no personal — nothing into it. It’s a fight, it’s our job, it’s what we do. You wanna play some games? Let’s play some games. I’ll probably smack you up in that, too. It’s a win-win for me.”
Holloway rebounded from his second loss to the Australian with unanimous decision wins over top contenders Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez. The third fight between “Blessed” and Volkanovski will serve as the co-main event to a middleweight title fight between Israel Adesanya and Jared Cannonier at UFC 276.
While a third win over Holloway is far from a given, Volkanovski has already teased a potential move up to lightweight in the near future.
What do you think of Holloway’s challenge to meet Volkanovski outside of the cage?
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