clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Max Holloway: Conor McGregor set the bar at featherweight, ‘and I'm here to beat it'

New, comments
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Conor McGregor may no longer be a member of the UFC featherweight ranks, but his accomplishments still weigh heavily over the division.

Over the course of his exceptional run to the title, McGregor elevated a once overlooked weight class into international prominence. And now that McGregor has left for the fresher pastures of 155 pounds, UFC 206 headliner Max Holloway intends to continue what McGregor started at featherweight.

"We've got to go out there and do our damn things. It is what it is, you know? Conor set the bar, and I'm here to beat it," Holloway said on a media conference call ahead of UFC 206. "I want to beat it. That's the bar we've got to beat. That's the bar I'm reaching for, and I have all intentions of smashing it, so we'll see what happens. First things first, the first step is Dec. 10, and that's what we're going to do."

Holloway meets former UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis on Dec. 10 in Toronto, Canada in the replacement main event of UFC 206. Holloway and Pettis were initially expected to fight lower on the card, however a late injury to Daniel Cormier forced Cormier's light heavyweight title defense to be scrapped, and Holloway and Pettis were instead bumped into a headlining spot with a newly-created interim featherweight title on the line.

At least that was the plan until Pettis missed weight Friday. The interim title will still be at play, but Holloway is the only one who can win it now. If Pettis comes away victorious, all he gets is the "W" on his record.

The initial interim title decision resulted in the UFC controversially stripping McGregor of the 145-pound strap he earned with an infamous 13-second knockout over Jose Aldo, in order to upgrade Aldo from the interim champion to the undisputed champion and allow space for the creation of another interim belt. But regardless, both Pettis and Holloway expect McGregor to remain in the discussion when it comes to the featherweight division in the future, simply by virtue of what he accomplished.

"He's done a great deal of duty for this sport," Pettis said of McGregor. "He's definitely brought this sport to a bigger light than it's ever been.

"When there's a guy like that around the sport and he's still fighting, of course he's still going to be relevant."

Pettis, the former lightweight champion, understands exactly why McGregor pushed to make his home at lightweight, rather than staying at featherweight.

"I know what it takes to make that weight cut down to 145 pounds," Pettis said. "Conor, I think, is very similar to my body size, and my length, my reach. I think it's a tough lifestyle to get down to 145 pounds. I don't think, with him holding that lightweight belt, it doesn't really make sense for him to keep cutting down to 145 pounds. It's not healthy.

"So I think until he starts doing what he's going to do at lightweight, or figure out what's going to happen -- maybe if he doesn't win at lightweight, he'll go back down to 145. Who knows what happens with Conor McGregor, but for now and later on, he's still fighting and he's definitely still relevant."