Max Holloway is excited to face Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245, but he hasn’t given up on the idea of a move up in weight.
Los Angeles, CA — While the focus for MMA fans was mainly on Washington, D.C. on Thursday for the upcoming UFC on ESPN 7, part of the UFC 245 co-main event was doing the promotional rounds in Los Angeles. Max Holloway, the UFC’s long-serving featherweight champion, attended a media lunch ahead of his title fight with Alexander Volkanovski in just over a week’s time.
And no, he hasn’t given up on becoming a dual-weight class champion.
“I want to be the best mixed martial artist in the world. And being the best mixed martial artist in the world is not a guy who stays in his weight and dominates his weight,” Holloway told media outlets including Cageside Press Thursday. “It’s someone who’s willing to go whatever weight.”
The practicality of some of Holloway’s ideas may be questioned, mind you. “I got a couple belts I want to fight for. The 55 of course. You’ve got Khabib, because he’s one of the best guys in the world.” Despite his struggles against Dustin Poirier, that could still be in the cards some day. Welterweight and higher, however, might be a stretch. Still, Holloway suggested he fight for the “Nicest MotherLover belt — Stephen ‘Wonderboy’ Thompson, hit me up.” Plus a fight against the “Daddest Man on the Planet, D.C. He was the heavyweight king, I still believe he is the heavyweight king.”
Let’s hope he’s joking about fighting Daniel Cormier.
“At the end of the day, if that’s the guys that I need to fight to be the best in the world, that’s what we’re going to do,” Holloway stated.
In all seriousness, as to whether Holloway decides to move up and leave featherweight behind some day, “we’ll see what happens. We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. A king defends his throne, and my throne is here at 45,” Holloway said. “But if there’s an opportunity at 55, why not. If it’s defending, or fighting for belts, whatever. It’s not even belts that intrigue me. It’s being the best martial artist in the world that intrigues me.”
Before all that, however, there’s Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245. The title defense is not something Holloway takes likely. “It’s like GSP once said. It’s harder to defend a title than win it,” Holloway explained. “Because if you think about it, when you’re fighting for a title, you’re trying to earn something brand new. And then when you’re defending a title, you’re just trying to re-earn something you already have.”
So, Holloway later added, “We look for challenges, and this and that. We look for things that excite me.”
What excites Holloway, he said, “is asking questions. It’s everybody keeps talking about how this guy has power. Everybody says ‘oh Max, you’re taller.’ But the guy got the reach. I’ve got little T-Rex arms, I don’t know what’s going on. A lot of people are like ‘you’re tall, you have the reach Max, use your jab.’ Guys, look at the reach! My reach is shorter than everybody I’ve fought, except finally Frankie [Edgar].”
“At the end of the day, I’m just excited,” he continued. “Every fight to me is a championship fight. I told you guys, before I was the champ, that I thought I was in championship fights, and that’s the way I carried myself. And that’s the way I’m going to continue to carry myself.”
Holloway also takes no offense from some of Volkanovski’s bold predictions about winning their bout. “With him saying that he’s the one that’s going to do this and that— you need that confidence. I want to fight a confident guy. He’s across the octagon come December 14 because of that confidence, and I look forward to it.”
Then there’s the questions Volkanovski brings to the table. “His power, his cardio, his strength, his wrestling. Dude is a striker too. So that’s a lot of questions. That’s the thing that excites me. That’s the thing that gets me up.”
“We’ll see what happens. We’re going to push every single question,” promised Holloway. “I believe we have the answers for it. The beautiful thing, we find out in nine days.”
Beyond Volkanovski, Holloway admitted he didn’t get to see recent performances by Yair Rodriguez and Zabit Magomedsharipov. “But I heard they did really good. It’s really exciting. You hear names like Zabit and Yair. Yair is a flashy guy, I love his fighting style. Zabit is the same way, I love his fighting style. I think those opponents is cool. I think they’d be great match-ups, great fights. But at the end of the day, I’ve got Alex in front of me. I ain’t looking past him at all.”
UFC 245 takes place December 14, 2019 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV. Check out the full media lunch scrum with Max Holloway above!