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Morning Report: Max Holloway still intrigued by move to lightweight: ‘It’s always tempting to go there’

UFC 276: Volkanovski v Holloway 3 Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images

Max Holloway still believes he has what it takes to be the very best no matter the weight class.

The former UFC featherweight champion Holloway, 31, has spent nearly his entire pro-MMA career competing in the octagon. Debuting in the promotion with just a 4-0 record against Dustin Poirier in February 2012, “Blessed” is about to tack on the same number of fights on his resume as he has years on Earth.

Holloway’s UFC debut against Poirier was his first fight at 145 pounds, competing at lightweight before his arrival. Coincidentally, the pair’s rematch in April 2019 acted as the Hawaiian’s return to the lightweight division when he attempted to claim interim gold while still holding the undisputed featherweight crown. Holloway ultimately came up short via a chaotic unanimous decision in a Fight of the Year contender and hasn’t fought in the weight class since. After suffering a third career loss to the reigning 145-pound titleholder Alexander Volkanovski last year, the temptation remains present for one of the lighter weight class’ all-time greats.

“For sure [lightweight was tempting],” Holloway told ESPN. “For this next fight, no, but it’s always tempting to go there. You got killers up there and those fights excite me. We just see what happens. It’s always great to go up a weight class when you got a belt around your waist so we’ll see what happens.

“Never say never. We’ll see what cards we get and we’ll go from there.”

Since facing Poirier, Holloway’s only successor has been Volkanovski who dethroned him later that same year. Recent masterclasses over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez displayed Holloway looking better than ever but still weren’t enough to overcome “The Great” in the arguably unnecessary trilogy bout.

Even though he’s down three fights in the series with the champion, Holloway still sees a viable path to a fourth fight ahead of his return vs. Arnold Allen at UFC Kansas City this Saturday night.

“If they didn’t believe that I would get a fourth fight [with Volkanovski] I think they would have probably forced my hand to go to 155 much more sooner,” Holloway said of the UFC. “We’ll see what happens. If he (Volkanovski) beats Yair, who’s after this? If I go out there and put a statement on Arnold, who’s after this? Put names in front of me. Yair is in front of me because he has the interim title belt but in [2021] we just had a fight and it was a great one, but you know who came out on top.”

Holloway’s upcoming headliner against England’s Allen will be only his third non-title tilt since December 2016 when he defeated Anthony Pettis to become the interim featherweight champion. The surging Allen (19-1) is undefeated in his 10-fight run with the promotion and would almost certainly solidify a title shot off a win. Holloway, on the other hand, knows he has to put back in the work and is just looking forward to this next challenge.

“I think he’s good,” Holloway said. “Anybody who’s sharing the octagon with me at this point in my career, they gotta be great. They gotta be good to put themselves in the position to be fighting among the top five guys in the world. I think he’s a great competitor, great athletic dude, super great dude. I just can’t wait. He excites me.

“A little like Jose Aldo, he has these little bursts in him. I’m super excited to see where it unfolds. He fights like once a year so it’s hard to say what he do, but then every fight he kind of comes out there different, some things the same.”


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The MMA Hour.

UFC Kansas City promo.

Free fight.

Best of Takeda.

Poatan speaks (English subtitles included).


DC + CCC 3.

Sterling’s training camp.


On To the Next One. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck and Alex K. Lee discuss the matches to make after UFC 287.




Here we go.

Uh oh.






Action Man.


Enjoying the W.


Zhalgas Zhumagulov (14-8) vs. Rafael Estevam (11-0); UFC 288, May 6

Ikram Aliskerov (13-1) vs. Phil Hawes (12-4); UFC 288, May 6

Moeri Suda (8-4) vs. Jeong Eun Park (8-7-1); Deep Jewels 41, May 28

Machi Fukuda (2-0) vs. You Jeong Kim (9-6-2); Deep Jewels 41, May 28

Arjan Bhullar (11-1) vs. Anatoly Mahlykin (12-0); ONE Championship event, July 15


I’m somewhat surprised Holloway didn’t make the move after his last loss, but after listening to him speak again it makes sense why he didn’t. Sooner rather than later would obviously be best... just not so sure it’s in the cards after all.

Thanks for reading!



Who wins this weekend?

This poll is closed

  • 68%
    Max Holloway
    (426 votes)
  • 31%
    Arnold Allen
    (193 votes)
619 votes total Vote Now

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