When Waianae’s Max Holloway lost to Alexander Volkanovski via unanimous decision at UFC 276 on Saturday night, the book between the featherweights effectively closed. Volkanovski took all three fights of the trilogy and won Saturday’s definitively with a unanimous 50-45 decision across the board.
Volkanovski has stated his desire to move up 10 pounds in an attempt to compete for the lightweight belt, a move Holloway made in 2019 but was unable to seize after losing to Dustin Poirier.
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If Volkanovski fails at his attempt to gain champ-champ status, he still figures to reign supreme in the featherweight division, where both he and Holloway have a variety of wins over the top contenders.
As for Holloway, his options remain open. He has fought at 145 and 155 in the UFC. According to Eric Jackman (also known as NewYorkRic) of MMA Fighting, his loss in Saturday’s featherweight title fight could motivate him to dedicate himself to make the move to lightweight at 155.
“I think it starts with getting his body ready to go up to lightweight because I think that’s going to take some time,” Jackman told KHON2 sports director Rob DeMello. “He’s going to have to build his frame out a little bit better. He’s going to have to bulk up.”
As for next potential opponent, Holloway has previously mentioned a desire to fight Conor McGregor again. Holloway lost to McGregor via unanimous decision on Aug. 17, 2013, well before McGregor went on to become the biggest name in MMA history.
“There’s a big money fight at lightweight or even potentially a little bit higher named Conor McGregor that has some history with Max Holloway and it doesn’t seem like Conor has a specific name in mind right now,” Jackman says. “If I’m Max Holloway, that’s a fight that I’d be trying to get by the time that Conor McGregor comes back.”
Regardless of where Holloway’s career goes from here, he has already established himself as one of the greats.
“His legacy is secured. He’s one of the best featherweights of all time. There’s no doubt that Max should be looking to make the most money he possibly can and then ride off into the sunset. Just knowing how competitive he is and the fact that he just fought for a title, I wouldn’t be surprised if he’s chasing that 155-pound title and quite frankly, if it’s Charles Oliveira holding it, there’s a ready made fight with another guy that he has history with, with somebody that I believe that he can beat, so he’s in a very fortunate position where I think he can juggle both.
“He can get big money fights but he can also chase a title at 155. It’s going to require, as I said, getting that body ready for it because there is a lot of tough guys at 155 who will have those physical advantages. Dustin Poirier is one of them and he has a perfect example of how that looks but I would expect Max to be very competitive in that division as long as he can do it right.”