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  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.”
Theatrics. Chael Sonnen loved Israel Adesanya turning ‘heel’ at UFC 287, mocking Alex Pereira’s son: ‘That was beautiful work’
Fallout. Jorge Masvidal responds to Gilbert Burns’ greasing allegation: ‘I’ve never cheated’
Hindered. Kevin Holland injury forced him to ‘work one-handed’ against Santiago Ponzinibbio at UFC 287
Rankings. Israel Adesanya reclaims No. 1 middleweight spot, but how far should Alex Pereira fall?
Reaction. Alex Pereira releases first statement following UFC 287 knockout loss to Israel Adesanya
The MMA Hour.
UFC Kansas City promo.
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.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Don’t want to give me a title shot mumble mouth? I recall the British not wanting to give Americans our freedom either... So we took it.— Colby Covington (@ColbyCovMMA) April 10, 2023
See you in July junior.
Here we go.
So you won’t say my name, that’s smart you better not.— Dricus Du Plessis (@dricusduplessis) April 10, 2023
I don’t need your airtime at all, I have my whole continent of AFRICA behind me.
Go enjoy your very spectacular victory at home in New Zealand .
We are Africa we fear nothing.#stillknocks #greenandgold #proudlyafrican pic.twitter.com/QxpPIuF2Gn
Pereira's kid's anime started Saturday. There will be blood on his road to revenge. Until he inevitably realizes vengeance is not the answer and the real treasure is the friends he made along the way pic.twitter.com/200v6qC48z— Sodiq Yusuff (@Super_Sodiq) April 10, 2023
Never forget this LEGENDARY Max Holloway moment!@BlessedMMA is BACK this Saturday to headline at #UFCKansasCity! pic.twitter.com/NEluPqCpbD— UFC (@ufc) April 10, 2023
.@BellatorMMA is pleased to announce that MacKenzie Stiller (1-0) has been signed to a new, long-term contract following her impressive debut victory at #BELLATOR293.pic.twitter.com/NbWI2igUKb— Bellator Public Relations (@BellatorPR) April 10, 2023
#Throwback to this incredible battle between @EazyPolizzi and @joseaugustomma. Will Polizzi make it look "Eazy" against @KarlMoore91? #Bellator297 | Fri, June 16 | @WintrustArena pic.twitter.com/mj4LG1Zjms— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) April 11, 2023
This edit of Israel Adesanya vs Alex Pereira is insane pic.twitter.com/sWG7iX7XZ9— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) April 10, 2023
UFC273 ESPN （2022） pic.twitter.com/rtOBqnM9XC— RYOKKE DRAW /ﾘｮｯｹﾄﾞﾛｰ (@ryokkes_draw2) April 10, 2023
First off all, I'm SERIOUSLY FUCKING TIRED of hearing the better guy won. Or he's the better fighter. You all seriously don't know a damn thing about fighting. I don't care who you are or what you think you saw, the better man did NOT win and the shit needs to be addressed...— Chris Curtis The Action Man (@Actionman513) April 11, 2023
Diamond Dame Anderson was the better fighter than Adonis Creed and y'all all tripping if you think Adonis was better. I said what I said. #DONTCOMEATME— Chris Curtis The Action Man (@Actionman513) April 11, 2023
Enjoying the W.
Pikachu use thunderbolt!!! ⚡️ pic.twitter.com/ZzEdRm7V8y— Israel Adesanya (@stylebender) April 11, 2023
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
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.