After Volkanovski claimed the featherweight title with a win over Holloway this past December, an automatic rematch was then booked for UFC 251 in July. Volkanovski earned another victory, this time by split decision, but he managed to retain his title.
Afterward, UFC president Dana White admitted he didn’t agree with the decision in the fight, and with so many other top ranked featherweights already booked, he believes a trilogy between Volkanovski and Holloway could happen.
“It’s hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight again – do it a third time,” White said when speaking to ESPN. “I think a lot of the fans and the media would agree with that. I don’t know for sure.”
As much as White might want that fight to happen, he’s not so sure Volkanovski would be on board after already beating Holloway in back-to-back meetings.
While the second fight was even closer than the first, Volkanovski still got the win according to the judges, and White can understand why the champ would like to move onto a different opponent other than Holloway.
“I’m sure Volkanovski doesn’t love that idea,” White said. “He’s like, ‘Listen, I just beat this guy twice.’ And if you’re Volkanovski, you’re like guess what — the media aren’t judges. Dana White’s not a judge. None of these people are judges. The people that are assigned to judge the fight said I won twice.
“If you’re Volkanovski, I get it. If you’re Volkanovski, you probably want to take a look at a different guy. I haven’t really talked to Volkanovski about it. Something I definitely need to do, and we’ll see how this thing plays out.”
If Volkanovski isn’t interested in a third fight against Holloway, he might end up stuck playing the waiting game for a No. 1 contender in the division to truly emerge.
White mentioned that four top fighters at 145 pounds — Brian Ortega, “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez — are already booked with upcoming fights. White also added Calvin Kattar into that mix, but Kattar is less than two weeks removed from a fight against Dan Ige.
Just after he earned his second win over Holloway at UFC 251, Volkanovski shot down a potential third fight as he looked to face other competition in the featherweight division.
“At this point, right now, it doesn’t make sense,” Volkanovski said. “To win back to back, I did say (that I wanted to beat him decisively), obviously leading up to the fight, trying to hype the fight up, but we all know Max is durable. So we’re well aware that taking him out is difficult to do.
“But at the same time, the majority of the rounds out of the two fights clearly show that I won seven or eight of them. Again, very competitive rounds, so you’ve got to give credit to Max. But at the same time, winning two back to back, it would be silly to do a rematch.”