Max Holloway returns to action on Saturday night (Nov. 13, 2021) against Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42, and while we definitely don’t want to count our chickens before they hatch, a lot of people are very interested in discussing what’s next for “Blessed” should he defeat “El Pantera.”
The question is a bit tricky given Holloway is in that unfortunate twilight zone many great fighters find themselves in after losing to the current champion (in this case Alexander Volkanovski) twice. And while fight fans still argue ferociously to this day about the legitimacy of those decision wins, it’s often a hard sell to set up a third fight considering two fighters have already scrapped twice in less than two years.
But, Holloway doesn’t seem to care because he has other big fights on his mind.
“I mean yeah, I’ve got five title defenses and I would like that sixth,” he said when asked about getting the belt back on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani. “But, you know, with possible fights and stuff, there are bigger fights that the UFC discussed us with, you know. I got a win over the 155-pound champ right now. We’re always on the short list for Conor. Before we got injured, we were one of the replacement fighters. And I’m the best boxer in the UFC, so use your imagination my friends, it’s a wild world today.”
It’s true: anything is possible with a little less focus on the title ladder and a little bit more imagination. Holloway does indeed have a win over current UFC Lightweight champion, Charles Oliveira, although it’s hard to imagine him stepping into a title shot at 155 pounds where half the contenders are in a state of rabid near-mutiny over their own position in line.
The short list for a Conor McGregor fight? Definitely more realistic. McGregor and Holloway met at Featherweight back in 2013. And while McGregor dominated young Max 30–27, 30–27, 30–26, it was the one McGregor fight in UFC at 145 pounds that didn’t end with in a “Notorious” (technical) knockout.
As a comeback fight, it ticks a lot of boxes: you know McGregor wouldn’t mind peeling that “best boxer’ label off Holloway, and UFC might consider “Blessed” a softer return opponent than Dustin Poirier.
UFC would probably be wrong, but don’t tell them that.
Light work— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 9, 2021
We’re all for it. If UFC can’t put Holloway back into a title fight, the least it could do is give him a “Red Panty Night.”