Max Holloway wants to fight The Korean Zombie next, and then it might finally be time for a return to lightweight.
In April, Holloway returned to action for the first time since losing his trilogy bout with Alexander Volkanovski, taking a unanimous decision win over Arnold Allen. Afterward, Holloway suggested a bout with fellow living legend Chan Sung Jung, and while there has been no official headway on that front yet, Holloway believes that’s the fight that will get made next.
“I called him out, he answered back pretty quick, so the ball is in the UFC’s court,” Holloway said Wednesday on The MMA Hour. “The ball is there. I would love that. Like I said, I told everyone, from that time when WEC was coming up, I fought most of those guys. Ricardo Lamas, [Jose] Aldo, [Anthony] Pettis, Dustin Poirier. He’s one I never got yet. I never got to get him. He’s still here, still top 10 — I think he’s No. 7 or whatever — so it makes sense. One fight, I’m hearing he wants to retire, so why not go out on a bang?
“I have no idea [why it hasn’t been booked yet],” Holloway continued. “I never heard nothing. All I know is I called him out, he replied with a cute video message, so let’s figure it out.”
Not only is a fight with Korean Zombie a fight fans have wanted for many years, it also solves the biggest problem the UFC currently has when it comes to Holloway: What to do with him. Given his three losses to Volkanovski, Holloway isn’t likely to earn a title shot anytime soon, but he continues to defeat other potential title challengers at 145 pounds.
Fortunately for the UFC, after facing Korean Zombie, Holloway has another idea on his mind: making the jump up to lightweight, possibly to face the winner of the upcoming ‘BMF’ title fight between Poirier and Justin Gaethje.
“For sure, there’s the other belts.” Holloway said. “... But it’s always better to go to a different division while you’re holding a belt. That’s just what it is. We’ll see what happens. We’ll see how July pans out, we’ll see how my next fight pans out, and we’ll see. Who knows? We saw that fun BMF belt, with Gaethje and Poirier. Me and Poirier fought two times [already] and people keep harassing me about Gaethje anyway.
“At the end of the day, that would be fun at ‘55. I know there are a lot of fun fights for me at ‘55, maybe [Charles] Oliveira two, and of course I never got to finish the thing with Khabib [Nurmagomedov] but Islam [Makhachev] is there so that would be a great thing. ... We’ll see what happens. Like I said, we’ll see the lay of the land. Never say never. I know people shouting out that BMF belt. That BMF belt would look real nice in my collection.”
Poirier and Gaethje face off in the main event of UFC 291 in July. Meanwhile, Holloway says he’s ready to fight again and is hoping to get two more bouts in before the end of the year, meaning a fall or winter matchup is possible, assuming the UFC can book a Korean Zombie fight in the next few months. And if not, well, there’s always another possibility.
Former foe Conor McGregor is planning to return to competition later this year, and while he’s supposed to face fellow The Ultimate Fighter coach Michael Chandler when he does, Holloway still believes that at some point the two of them are destined to run things back.
“I think it happens,” Holloway said. “I don’t know what’s going on with the dude but I think at some point it happens. I don’t know if it’s going to be in the UFC or boxing. I think it happens though.”