Following mesmerizing win, Waianae’s Max Holloway shows no preference towards next bout

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ABU DHABI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – JANUARY 17: In this handout image provided by UFC, Max Holloway (L) celebrates after his unanimous-decision victory over Calvin Kattar in a featherweight bout during the UFC Fight Night event at Etihad Arena on UFC Fight Island on January 17, 2021 in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. (Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

Perhaps no sequence illustrated Max Holloway’s mesmerizing performance at UFC on ABC 1 better than the moment he decided to speak with less than two minutes remaining in the fight.

Up to that point, the fight was already well in hand for Holloway. He’d spent over four and a half rounds executing an MMA masterclass against Calvin Kattar, showing the UFC’s No. 6 featherweight contender that there’s a clear line between the 29-year-old Waianae native and the rest of the championship hopefuls in the division.

The iconic 20 or so seconds, which can be seen below, shows Holloway calling himself ‘The Best boxer in the UFC’ while continuing to fight Kattar. It also displayed Holloway’s charisma, marketability, and pure skill at a point that the fight was not supposed to reach. Many believe the bout should have been stopped during the fourth round as Kattar absorbed 141 significant strikes in those five minutes alone.

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When all was said and done on Fight Island, Holloway had landed a record 445 significant strikes and snapped a two-fight losing streak in the process. Most importantly, he earned another shot at winning back the same UFC featherweight belt he possessed from Dec. 10, 2016 to Dec. 14, 2019.

Holloway’s two most recent losses were both to Alexander Volkanovski, including a controversial split decision in July that many believed Holloway won.

After Holloway’s dismantling of Kattar, UFC president Dana White said afterwards that he’s next in line for a shot at the belt. Volkanovski is currently scheduled to fight Brian Ortega on March 27.

“When you’re the champion, you have the top five guys in the world gunning at you, right? When you’re the number one contender in the world, you got the top 10 guys in the world. Sometimes, No. 8 is more dangerous than No. 3. Tonight, he fought a bad dude that a lot of people thought were gonna beat him and he went out and treated him like No. 6. He did what he needed to do in spectacular fashion tonight and I think that he deserves to fight Volkanovski again,” White said of Holloway at the post-fight press conference.

Regardless of who wins the upcoming featherweight title fight, Holloway has faced both before. Prior to Saturday’s fight, the consensus among fight pundits was that Holloway’s fourth-round TKO over Ortega on July 27, 2019 was the most impressive performance of his career.

If Holloway waits until a winner emerges from the Volkanovski-Ortega fight for his next bout, it means he’ll have over a two-month advantage in preparation. But that’s only if he doesn’t take another fight before that.

“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway said on Saturday. “That’s up to the UFC and I’m just waiting. It’s up to my manager.

“I want legacy fights. I want big fights, I want fights like this — we’re on ABC, I want history. Belt, no belt, whatever it is, I want to fight. I want to fight. (Volkanovski) is saying he wanted a different fight. Like I said earlier, he didn’t want a tougher fight. I want tough fights. You guys think somebody’s the best fighter in the world, you guys tell me, let me know. I’ll sign that dotted line.”

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