A rematch against Conor McGregor is something Max Holloway had been wanting for some time now. But the current Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion’s fire to get that do-over has died down over the years.
While Holloway knows another fight against “Notorious” means big money, he only wants it if McGregor is healthy and at his best, much like he was during his run in 2015-2016. To hear Holloway tell it, taking out an unfocused McGregor — who has so many out-of-the cage distractions at the moment — wouldn’t be appealing.
“When did Conor beat Aldo? December 2015? And when did he beat Eddie? In November 2016. And for those 12 months he ruled the world. Not just UFC, the world,” Holloway said during a recent interview on Ariel Helwani’s MMA Show. “And what I can take away from that time was his focus. He was so focused that he decided what he wanted and he pointed to the sky, reached for the stars, reached for the moon and he made it happen, it was magical.”
During his great run inside the Octagon, McGregor became the promotion’s first-ever champ-champ, taking out a Who’s Who of contenders and champions on his way to becoming UFC’s biggest star. But after being stripped of both titles for inactivity, pursuing a Floyd Mayweather boxing fight instead of fighting inside the Octagon, then getting choked out by Khabib Nurmagomedov, it seems his UFC star has dimmed.
That said, once he makes his return, McGregor will likely not skip a beat when it comes to selling and marketing fights. Whether or not that translates into successful in-cage performances is another story.
“After listening to him now, I don’t see that same focus. If you are going after everything, you aren’t focused on anything. He called out like 20 guys in that interview. Am I interested in a payday fight to fight him? Sure, Ariel, but I am not interested in competing against him if he’s not his best,” Holloway explained upon hearing McGregor’s apology for slugging an elderly man in a pub earlier this year (see it).
“He doesn’t seem healthy and he didn’t sound right. If he comes back and says, ‘Hey, I beat Max when he was a kid, but I want to beat him in his prime to prove I am the best ever.’ Then yeah, I want that champ. I want the 2015-2016 champ mentality and focused,” he added.
“Right now it’s just not that interesting to me. Even his fans want him focused. When he points to the sky again and that’s when I want to fight him, the best Conor McGregor. So he can go figure things out and let us know.”
McGregor does have yet another looming legal issue — he is due in court on Oct. 11, 2019, to face assault charges for the aforementioned pub incident in Dublin, Ireland.
For now, Holloway will set all of his attention on Alexander Volkanovski, as “Blessed” is set to defend his 145-pound title against the 20-1 combatant in the co-main event of UFC 245 on Dec. 11, 2019, in Las Vegas, Nevada.