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Alexander Volkanovski doubts Max Holloway’s long-term durability after Yair Rodriguez: ‘That chin’s going to go soon’

Max Holloway hit a new benchmark at UFC Vegas 42 against Yair Rodriguez when he became the first fighter in history to land more than 3,000 total strikes inside the octagon.

By now, Holloway’s torching of the UFC record books has become a familiar theme of his fights. At age 29, the former UFC featherweight champion already owns virtually every major record for striking volume that is tracked by the promotion. The 251 total strikes he landed in his electric unanimous decision win over Rodriguez were simply par for the course for a man who likes to call himself the best boxer in the UFC.

But there’s a flip side to Holloway’s approach that reared its head again on Saturday. His war of attrition with Rodriguez marked the fourth fight in a row — and sixth of his last seven — in which Holloway has eaten at least 100 significant strikes thrown by his opponent. And it’s a point that UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski couldn’t help but notice as he watched Holloway cement himself once again as the No. 1 contender of the division.

“Man, Max eats a lot of shots,” Volkanovski said Monday on The MMA Hour. “He’s a volume striker, but he’s happy to eat one to give a couple. But, I mean, how long can that last?

“I’m telling you, that chin’s going to go soon. It is going to go soon. You cannot cop that much damage. Yeah, they’re talking about 3000 strikes he’s [landed], which is incredible. Clap for that. But he’s probably in the 1000s or 2000s of absorption as well. There you go, that’s not healthy. And Conor [McGregor] touched on that actually. Conor makes a good point. You talk about being a boxer — it’s hit and not get hit. That’s what makes the best boxer. So, you look at the numbers he’s hitting a lot of numbers, but let’s look at other numbers. Let’s look at ratios. Let’s look at how many strikes they’re landing to not landing.

“It doesn’t get more impressive than mine, I don’t think. I think mine would be right up there. But again, you want to talk numbers, let’s talk real numbers.”

Volkanovski knows better than anyone what it’s like to deal with Holloway’s volume attack. He’s the only featherweight to stand against Holloway for 10 full rounds and come out on top. Not only that, he out-struck Holloway by a combined margin of 296-246 in total strikes across the pair’s two-fight series, with Volkanovski winning both outings via decisions.

But those two bouts are the only instances in which Volkanovski has ever eaten at least 100 significant strikes from a UFC opponent. The same certainly can’t be said for Holloway.

“At the end of the day, I’ll give it to Max, he’s a gamer,” Volkanovski said. “I’m sitting there trying to knock him but at the same time you’ve got to give him credit. It’s entertaining.

“Don’t get me wrong, watching that, it’s great to watch. But, at the same time, you can’t do that forever, and that that chin is going to go. Let’s see if it goes [in] the next one. I’m going to be looking for it.”

Volkanovski, 33, said Monday that he’s already back in the gym and could be ready to fight Holloway for a third time as soon as January, although he believes March is the tentative date the UFC is eyeing.

He’s eager to shut up the critics who have badgered him since the rematch in July 2020 ended in a controversial split decision on the judges’ scorecards, and he’s dismissing much of Holloway’s talk about rematching McGregor as little more than white noise.

“I don’t know what he’s pushing but I guarantee that’s what the UFC is going to bring to me [the trilogy fight],” Volkanovski said. “And yeah, we’ll see what happens from there. But let’s stop the bullsh*t. If you want it, come get it. If not, we move on.”

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