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Max Holloway expects to challenge for lightweight title again

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Max Holloway isn’t letting his failed brush with lightweight greatness deter him.

Though “Blessed” recently saw a five-year unbeaten streak come to an end at the hands of Dustin Poirier—a defeat that prevented Holloway from adding an interim lightweight title to his list of accolades—he still believes that he can join the list of fighters who have held UFC championship belts in two weight classes. Speaking at a media lunch in Los Angeles on Thursday in advance of his upcoming featherweight title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 241, Holloway not only sought to remind everyone that he is still evolving, but that a lightweight championship could still be in his future.

“It’s in my history,” Holloway said. “You guys watch my fights, you guys go back to all my fights, I’m a different guy every time and come July 27 you guys are going to see a different guy in there again. The kid that showed up in April, the guy you’re looking at, standing in front of him, I’d kill that kid. I’d body him. There’s no comparison and it happens, this sport or life, period, is like Chutes and Ladders. Sometimes you’ve got to slide down to climb up a bigger ladder.

“‘55 ain’t far off. That’s only 10 pounds, that’s all it is, is 10 pounds. We’ll get back there when we get back there. Hopefully it’s sooner rather than later and we’ll see what happens. If it takes a 10-fight win streak to fight for another belt up there, become the double champ, it takes a 10-fight streak. That’s what it is. I ain’t scared of no work and you guys all know that. Put my nose down and get to work I guess.”

Holloway, 27, insisted that while he didn’t feel much of a difference competing at a higher weight class, the plan was always to go back down to 145 pounds. Several names such as Alexander Volkanovski, Zabit Magomedsharipov, and Chan Sung Jung have emerged as possible title challengers and though Holloway didn’t target anyone specific, he acknowledged that it makes sense for him to defend his own championship for now.

“I always wanted to and we’ve got unfinished business,” Holloway said. “There’s a lot of guys now coming up that are doing what they’re supposed to be doing and Frankie is a legend, he’s a legend. Third times a charm. It took two times to book this fight, I can’t wait.

“And I always said, champ is a champ and a king is a king of someone who defends their land, who defends their belt. That’s what true kings are, that’s what true kings do and I wanted to come back down.”

Holloway laughed at the fact that he’s been told he’s too big for featherweight and yet when it came time for him to face off with Poirier, he was then told he was too small for lightweight.

The bout with Poirier was announced in February and took place in April, which would suggest that Holloway may not have had an ideal amount of time to bulk up to a new weight class. However, “Blessed” scoffed at that talk and kept his usual attitude of “it is what it is” in regards to when the right moment will be for him to make a permanent move to 155 pounds.

“That was seven weeks to fight day, so I only had six weeks, we were still coming off of the December thing and was figuring stuff out,” Holloway said of the preparation for his UFC 236 lightweight bout. “We’ll see what happens. When I make the move I make the move and decide to put on more muscle and this and that. There’s always a narrative that people try to explore like, ‘He had to be there, he had to weigh this and that.’ There’s no difference.

“After this fight, if they call me out for August to fight D.C. (Daniel Cormier), guess what? I’m weighing around 210, 220 pounds, I’ll make that walk and I’ll fight him. You know what I mean? There’s no time in this. If you want to be the greatest pound-for-pound fighter in the world, I don’t think you should use weight as an excuse or anything really as an excuse. You just show up to fight.”