Game respects game and after his performance this past Saturday, Max Holloway is getting some serious props from one of the best fighters to ever step into a cage.
At UFC Fight Island 7 this past Saturday, Holloway put on a show, completely outclassing sixth-ranked featherweight Calvin Kattar and rewriting the record book in the process, landing an unheard of 445 significant strikes over the course of five rounds. It was the kind of performance that likely earned Holloway another title shot next, even having lost to the champion twice already, but perhaps more importantly it was the type of performance that added to his already spectacular legacy, at least with his peers. Take, for instance, UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Khabib is currently on Fight Island as he prepares his cousin Umar Nurmagomedov for a fight at UFC Fight Island 8. The lightweight champion watched Holloway’s performance on Saturday and left so impressed by “Blessed” that he believes the best is still yet to come for the former featherweight champion.
“I think about Max, he’s already one of the best who ever compete in MMA,” Khabib told Full Reptile. “He’s one of the best. Maybe, probably, he’s best fighter featherweight of all time. I think it was his best performance. And when we look at Max, he’s not old but he has a lot of fights in UFC. But how old, 28, 29? Something like this, and I think his prime time is coming. It’s not come yet. I think maybe this year, maybe next year it’s going to be his prime time. It was not when he was champion. I think his time is going to come if he’s gonna keep focused, doing everything that he has to do, I think.”
That’s certainly high praise coming from the man currently sitting atop the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings and widely considered to be the greatest lightweight of all time, but of course, he and Holloway have history together. Back in 2018 when Holloway was still the featherweight champion, he was tapped to step in on short-notice against Khabib at UFC 223 to vie for the vacant lightweight title. The two took part in a memorable press conference where their respect for each other was apparent. Unfortunately, given the short-notice nature, Holloway’s weight-cut was more difficult than anticipated and the UFC’s medical team did not allow him to compete, however since then, Khabib has still maintained his respect for Holloway.
“I really like Max,” Khabib said. “We were supposed to fight with him in 2018 and I remember this. I think he’s time is gonna come, maybe end of the year, maybe next year. It was his best performance but I believe he has potential to be more great fighter than he was a couple days ago.”
Of course, there’s another reason for Khabib to like Holloway, as Max is a man after Khabib’s own heart. On Saturday, not only did Holloway dominate Calvin Kattar, he did it in style, calling himself the best boxer in the UFC and talking to the commentary team while slipping punches and beating Kattar up. It was the kind of thing Khabib has been been known to do in his own fights (like that time he told Michael Johnson he needed to tap out before tapping him out).
“I love this,” Khabib said. “Fighting, at the same time talk with opponent, talk with some corner, talk with Dana. This is amazing feeling.”
As far as the content of Holloway’s words, Khabib isn’t certain that what Max was saying was true, but what he does believe is that if Holloway keeps improving like this, then Max may overtake him as the greatest fighter of all time.
“About best boxer, I don’t know, but he’s one of the best for sure,” Khabib concluded. “And his cardio I think. He has very good cardio, very good chin, and now his experience every fight is coming more and more and I think his time is gonna come. This is what I think. This was his best performance but in the future, he has a couple years to show and become maybe best fighter of all time.”
Of course, Nurmagomedov still has time to add to his own legacy. The UFC lightweight champion retired from MMA following UFC 254 but Dana White said over the weekend that if someone at UFC 257 really impressed Khabib, then he may consider fighting again. Then again, maybe Holloway has already done that.
On point. UFC Fight Island 8 weigh-in results: Michael Chiesa, Neil Magny, all 28 fighters successfully make weight.
Retirement. Conor McGregor dismisses 2020 retirement announcement: ‘I’ll probably never retire from the game’.
The Greatest. Max Holloway explains mid-fight shout at Calvin Kattar, channeling Muhammad Ali.
Conversation. Dana White reveals conversation Khabib Nurmagomedov had with Justin Gaethje during their fight at UFC 254.
The Polar Bear. UFC pioneer Paul Varelans dies at 51 following battle with COVID-19.
UFC Fight Island Weigh-In Staredowns.
UFC 257 Timeline.
Conor McGregor arrives on Fight Island.
UFC 257 Q&A with Michael Chandler.
Bellator dropping a Michael Chandler video ahead of UFC 257.
Doesn’t sound like Khabib has lost interest in GSP.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing Max Holloway’s performance and looking at UFC 257.
Anik & Florian. Previewing UFC 257 and reacting to UFC Fight Island 7.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Yachtside @etihadarena_ae pic.twitter.com/uxIgnvh1nO— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 18, 2021
Ohhhhh, you’re my best friend!
Matt Brown making it super clear his thoughts.
I’d like to make it clear I know I lost. 29-28 is proper and third round wouldn’t be a robbery if you gave it to me but I won’t argue at all giving it to Condit. Last post on this love all you guys hope yo I enjoyed the show! Onward and upward! https://t.co/vRKDb8rH8G— Matt Brown (@IamTheImmortal) January 18, 2021
One year ago today I faced my last major defeat. The world completely changed after that, but I learned a lot about myself. Thank you to everyone who continues to ride with me. I promise this next year is going to be a fun one ⌚️‼️ pic.twitter.com/04QFa4JGe1— Anthony Pettis (@Showtimepettis) January 19, 2021
I had my meniscus repaired today. Plus some cartilage clean up. Suffered an injury in my last fight, got an MRI and discovered there were multiple things wrong. Got cleaned up and hope to be back in a couple months! Thank you @ufc for making sure I got the best care possible. pic.twitter.com/qzIMcknkiK— Deron Winn (@DeronWinn) January 19, 2021
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