Not only did Max Holloway’s victory over Jose Aldo remove some of Conor McGregor’s shadow from the division, it also made the next featherweight title matchup more interesting and wide-open.
Quickly after UFC 212, two perennial featherweight contenders called out the new champion.
Frankie Edgar, who was in attendance at the fight, was surely glad to see Holloway win; Edgar has lost twice to Aldo, making a third matchup with the Brazilian less than likely. But with a champion he has yet to face, Edgar is in a good position to receive another title shot.
After the fight Holloway made it clear that he was not going to follow the trend of recent champions calling for super-fights outside of their division, and he welcomed the possibility of fighting Edgar.
“Me and Frankie [Edgar], that sounds awesome,” Holloway said at the UFC 212 post-fight press conference. “Everybody keeps saying I didn’t fight people. Aldo was saying I didn’t fight people and Frankie is a former champ.
“I’ve got two former champs under my belt. It’d be nice adding another one under my belt. We’ll see what happens.”
Another top-five featherweight believes that he deserves the shot over Edgar, however. Cub Swanson, riding a four-fight winning streak, believes he has earned the shot at the 145 lb. title that has long eluded him.
“The only thing is (Edgar has) had how many title fights? How many chances?” Swanson said on UFC 212’s post-event show. “My whole career – I’ve been with the company 11 years now – I’ve never fought for a title. I’ve been right there. I’ve had it promised. I’ve had it taken away. I think it’s the most exciting fight and it makes the most sense.”
There is one big factor that hurts Swanson’s chances, though. In 2015 he fought Holloway and was soundly beaten over the course of three rounds, eventually submitting to a guillotine choke. It was Holloway’s signature win on his quest to the featherweight belt, and the dominance he displayed that night may make the UFC hesitant to book a rematch between him and Swanson.
Whoever the young Hawaiian faces next, he has proven that his winning streak was no fluke. At UFC 212, the featherweight division entered the Max Holloway era.