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Monday Morning Hangover: What’s next for Max Holloway after UFC 236 title loss?

Another weekend of fisticuffs has come and gone, as UFC 236 blew the roof off State Farm Arena last Saturday night (April 13, 2019) in Atlanta, GA., which kicked off UFC’s first-ever pay-per-view (PPV) event on ESPN+.

Plenty of fighters were left licking their wounds, including Eryk Anders, who got knocked around by Khalil Rountree to suffer his third straight defeat. And Kelvin Gastelum, who — despite a valiant effort — came up short in his bid to win the interim Middleweight bout against Israel Adesanya.

And of course there is Max Holloway, who failed to become the promotion’s next champ-champ after losing a unanimous decision to Dustin Poirier in the interim lightweight championship headlining bout.

Going into the fight, Holloway was riding a 13-fight win streak stretching back over six years. While he already had the luxury of being Featherweight king with wins over some of the biggest names at 145 pounds, adding to his resume by winning another title in a higher weight class was something he longed for to add to his ever-growing legacy.

Plus, getting one back on the man who spoiled his UFC debut would’ve been an added bonus.

Poirier, though, was a man on a mission, taking it to “Blessed” from the opening bell and winning the exchanges on the feet for the majority of the five-round war. And the power difference was evident, as Dustin’s shots simply packed more pop than those of Holloway’s. One thing that is often understated about Poirier’s game is his pace, as he will stay on you like white on rice. And that is what he did to Max, who is usually the one dictating the pace of his fights (see it again here).

Despite the setback, Holloway was all class in defeat.

”Life is chutes and ladders,” said Max afterward. “Sometimes we gotta take that slide down to get to the next big ladder. It is what it is. We keep playing. We keep fighting. Congrats to Dustin and (wife) Jolie. They should’ve already had a belt. Diamonds are forever.”

And that’s why he is one of the best in and out of the cage.

The bright side for Holloway is that he is still a UFC champion and is king of the 145-pound weight class that has a few contenders ready and willing to try to dethrone him. Chief among them is Alex Volkanovski, who is looking to punch his ticket to the big dance with a win over Jose Aldo at UFC 237 next month.

And there is Frankie Edgar, who — much to the chagrin of the aforementioned Volkanovski — is still trying to lock down his own title fight against the “Blessed” express. And let’s not forget the surging Zabit Magomedsharipov. Whomever Holloway faces next will prove to be a tough challenge.

But “Blessed” wouldn’t have it any other way, as he has constantly faced the best-of-the best through out his combat sports career, and moving up to attempt to conquer new divisions is proof of that.

To get full UFC 236: “Holloway vs Poirier 2” play-by-play updates and results click here.