Max Holloway has worked his way to becoming one of the greatest featherweights in UFC history, but now he may have his eye on other weight divisions.
Holloway defends the UFC featherweight championship against Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 245 next week, but during a media luncheon this week, Holloway said he feels in order to cement his legacy in the sport, he needs to fight and win in other weight classes.
Holloway competed at lightweight earlier this year, facing Dustin Poirier in the UFC 236 main event with the interim lightweight title on the line. The fight was an entertaining affair, but Holloway dropped a unanimous decision. The fight snapped a 13-fight win streak for Holloway, but he did secure a 13th straight featherweight win and third successful title defense against Frankie Edgar at UFC 240 in July.
But the loss to Poirier isn’t deterring “Blessed” away from the heavier divisions. He even is willing to throw down with lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, who he was scheduled to face on short notice at UFC 223 before weight cut issues forced him out.
“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 said. “It is someone who goes to whatever weight. So whoever is the best guys in the world, you guys tell me. I’ve got a couple of belts I want to fight for. The [lightweight], of course. You’ve got Khabib [Nurmagomedov], because he’s one of the best guys in the world.
“I don’t know about holding belts all at one time. But nobody has gotten three at one time. I just turned 28. I can see myself to even getting to 185 and being healthy and getting strong there.”
Holloway added that he’d jump immediately at the opportunity to face Conor McGregor — even if he’d have to jump up two weight classes. McGregor returns to the Octagon as a welterweight at UFC 246 in January, when he takes on Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.
McGregor was the last man to defeat Holloway before “Blessed” went on his 13-fight run.
“If the Mystic Mac arrives, if he wants to be what he was a couple of years ago when he was the greatest mixed martial artist in the world and he wants to be the greatest again, I’m sure we’re gonna run into each other like that,” Holloway said.
But Holloway says right now he’s focused on Volkanovski and defending his gold at 145. Should he get past him, he will browse through all possible options at both featherweight and beyond.
“First thing first is Alex,” Holloway said. “And if the opportunity presents itself, I’m not backing down from it. I want to be one of the greatest in this era. As long as I’m alive and as long as I fight, whenever I’m fighting I want people to talk about, ‘Oh, man, he’s one of the greatest of his time.’ That’s what I want to do. First things first, Alex is a handful. I can’t be overlooking this guy. Most of the time, when guys overlook guys we see what happens.
“We’ll see what happens. I don’t know. A king defends his throne and my throne is here at ’45. But if there’s an opportunity at ’55, why not? If it’s defending or fighting for belts, whatever. It’s not even the belts that intrigue me. It’s being the best martial artist in the world that intrigues me. So whoever you think is the best guy, let me fight him. Let me at him. The belt is just the topping, the cherry on top.”
Video courtesy of MMA Fighting
Original Story: ESPN