Until this recent injury preventing his title defense against Frankie Edgar, Max Holloway has held steadfast in the featherweight division. He told us the Blessed Era was coming, he stacked up a 10-fight win streak, then dethroned the previous Jose Aldo king twice. If he can successfully prevent Brian Ortega from taking his belt, then it’s hard to make a case for another contender right now. As dominant as Holloway has been, it’s got him looking higher up for future challenges. He calls out none other than Khabib Nurmagomedov, but quickly warns the division that no one is safe at lightweight.
“You know, everybody keep talking about me and a guy too. That Irish man [Conor McGregor]. Everybody want to see us run that back, everybody seems to not be talking about Khabib [Nurmagomedov]. I want Khabib. You know, to be the best you got to beat the best and one of those guys is Khabib. A lot of guys draw Tony [Ferguson]’s name. I remember Tony saying that he wanted to come down to 145-pounds, but they all can stay up there. Stay at 155-pounds, no excuses, let me come up and let me fight. I’m a big boy and we can go up. And 170-pounds ain’t so far after that.”
“I’m a Samoan, I’m Hawaiian, I’m Polynesian. I love eating food. You guys know I love cupcakes. I’m going to put my weight on and we’ll see what happens. No one’s safe. No one’s safe. I’m willing. I’m ready to go. After this injury we’ll get back to it at 145-pounds and we’ll go from there. That’s the beauty [of how I’d stop the pressure and takedowns of Nurmagomedov], we don’t know until we get in there. I have an idea. We all can have an idea. Everybody can say this, and this, and that, but once you get locked into those cages, it’s a different feeling. So, you guy’s gotta wait and see. Just like anything else, you guy’s gotta wait and see.” — Max Holloway speaking to Mike Finch of Cage Fanatic.
As we pick our mouths up off the floor, it’s important to remember two things: When fighters start talking like this they seem to always lose, and Max Holloway has to get through Brian Ortega first. At UFC 222, Ortega proved he’s not only worthy of a title shot, but has all the tools to be a champion. No one had ever finished Edgar, but there is a first time for everything. Will Ortega become champion for the first time, or will Holloway take him out like he’s done everyone else and move to lightweight? Just like the champ says, we’ll have to wait and see.
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 3/10/2018.