Conor McGregor pretty much perfected the craft of trash talking your opponents for fame and fortune, so it shouldn’t be a surprise that he gets a lot of that back from his fellow fighters on the UFC roster. But one guy who doesn’t ride too hot on the McGregor hate train is featherweight champ Max Holloway, even though McGregor enjoys sharing photos of their 2013 bout which “Notorious” won by dominating decision 30–27, 30–27, 30–26.
Holloway fires back every time and even manages to come out on top regularly. It’s all just harmless fun and good business according to the Hawaiian.
“The way he talks is business, and business is business,” Holloway told MMA Fighting (and let’s hope ‘business is business’ doesn’t become the new ‘it is what it is’). “I understand that point of business with someone. There might be a point where you cross a line where it’s not business anymore and it gets personal but he never did that. He never crossed that line. That’s what I respect about him.
“We do jab back and forth but it’s just business. We’re not taking any real jabs at anything real crazy. We didn’t cross that line.”
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It’s certainly never gotten ugly like it regularly does between McGregor and Khabib Nurmagomedov, who seem a few more deleted tweets away from inciting more violence with legal ramifications. In truth, it’s gone the opposite way, with McGregor taking the high road when Holloway suffered through a string of scary medical moments in 2018.
“[Conor] was the first one that asked me, that tweeted how everybody was saying this stuff [about the fight being cancelled] but nobody was asking about how I was when the whole [Khabib Nurmagomedov] thing happened,” Holloway said when referencing how he was pulled from a lightweight title fight on short notice.
”When the July thing happened [with Brian Ortega] and then even walking out to the Frankie Edgar fight, he showed me support. He has a heart.”
Max also shrugged off McGregor’s confirmed bad behavior - the phone smashing and punching an elderly man - saying “He’s human just like all of us.”
That complimentary attitude could help lead Holloway back into the cage with McGregor down the road.
McGregor reportedly wants to fight three times in 2020 ending the year with a Khabib Nurmagomedov rematch. Taking on Holloway at 155 pounds would certainly make him worthy of a title fight after Donald Cerrone in January. And considering McGregor picked Cerrone over epic s**t slinger Justin Gaethje, going respectful may get you closer to a red panty night these days than before.