Max Holloway: Instead of begging for one payday, ‘be the damn payday yourself’

Max Holloway has wanted a rematch against Conor McGregor for ages. But with the UFC featherweight champion testing the waters in other divisions and…

By: Nick Baldwin | 7 years ago
Max Holloway: Instead of begging for one payday, ‘be the damn payday yourself’
Bloody Elbow 2.0 | Anton Tabuena

Max Holloway has wanted a rematch against Conor McGregor for ages. But with the UFC featherweight champion testing the waters in other divisions and Jose Aldo now holding the interim strap, Holloway knows it’s very unlikely that another fight with the Irishman will ever come to fruition.

“The entertaining thing is that — I’m not stupid — I know there are two belts in the division,” Holloway told’s The MMA Circus. “Conor having the undisputed one, and Aldo having the interim. I understand that they need to fight each other. They have to. No matter how bad I want to fight Conor, that’s just not going to happen.”

Holloway isn’t sure what McGregor’s next move will be. No one is, according to the 24-year-old, except for McGregor himself. Will McGregor return to featherweight to unify the belt with Aldo? Will he challenge Eddie Alvarez for the 155-pound title? Is a trilogy fight with Nate Diaz already in the works? Only time will tell, Holloway says.

But one thing Holloway does know is that he is next in line to fight for the undisputed championship against Aldo if McGregor does not return to the featherweight division.

“For sure. It’s the only fight,” he said. “What other fight is there? I beat everybody that’s behind me. There’s one guy in front of me (besides McGregor and Aldo) that I’ve been begging to fight in Frankie Edgar. But he just came off a loss to the guy. I think I’m the only guy that — if Conor doesn’t come back, I think Aldo would be interested in fighting me, too. It’s some new blood. I think I am the only guy in the 145-pound division that, if Conor chooses not to come back down, gets to fight Aldo.

“The thing is, if Conor goes up, I think I’m the next one in line. But if Conor comes back down, he has to fight Aldo then, and I gotta fight one more. That’s just the way it plays out. We’ve seen some more crazy sh-t in the UFC, so we’ll see what happens.”

Despite his impressive nine-fight winning streak, fan-friendly style, and activeness, Holloway has yet to receive a title shot. But he doesn’t feel like the UFC owes him one, either, nor does he have any ill will towards the organization.

“I don’t feel like I’m owed anything,” he said. “I always say, ‘Earned, not given.’ If I gotta keep showing these guys that I’m the best guy in the division, then so be it. I want a title shot bad. If you’re not trying to go for a gold belt, then why the hell are you fighting? Or if you’re not trying to get big paydays, then why are you fighting? I want big paydays, I want my title shot, but, at the end of the day, it is what it is.

“I like to say, ‘I’m not gonna cry over spilled milk.’ When you spill milk, you’re not going to try to put it back in the container; you’re gonna wipe that sh-t up and move on. That’s what I believe in. If I don’t get my title shot, why cry about it? I have nothing that I can control. If the UFC’s not gonna give it to me, they’re not gonna give it to me. I have no control over that. But I can control my emotions. When it’s my time, it’s my time.”

Holloway says while everyone is looking for a money-fight, he’s looking to become the money-fight.

“Everybody is chasing Conor around, trying to get the money from him,” he said. “I’m trying to make my case to be the money man. I wanna be the money man. I wanna be a guy that people are like, ‘Damn, I gotta fight Max.’ And most people should feel like that. Go f-cking go out there yourself — why are you trying to beg for one fight to get your big payday? Be the damn payday yourself. You will make yourself the payday. And that’s what I believe in. I will do it. People keep sleeping on me. Let them sleep; it is what it is. Ninjas move in the shadows. When it’s time to show what’s up and my time comes, you best believe I’m gonna take full advantage of it.”

But Holloway doesn’t criticize welterweight champion Tyron Woodley for asking to fight Georges St-Pierre and/or Nick Diaz because he is at the top. He’s the champion. Holloway believes Woodley, as the titleholder, reserves the right to call his shots.

“He’s the champion; he can do whatever the hell he wants,” he said. “He has the belt; he can fight who he wants. It’s crazy — I see him getting more heat than Conor, sometimes. It’s like, ‘Damn. Conor’s holding up the whole division for awhile, now. This guy just wins it one time, and you guys start losing your sh-t?’ He’s the champion; let him do what he wants. If he wants to get paid, he’ll get paid. Like I said, I have no control over what Tyron does, but cool for him. He said what he wants to do, and hopefully, they give it to him.”

Holloway hasn’t heard anything regarding a potential Aldo fight — or any fight, for that matter. He’s still patiently waiting with his fingers crossed.

“I’m just like everybody else — I’m waiting,” he said. “I got a manager to handle that stuff. He’s doing his job; I know he is. He’s working hard for me. So I’m just waiting for his call to tell me if I’m Aldo, or if I’m fighting someone else. I have no idea. I’m in the shadows, just like you guys.”

Holloway, just like nearly the entire UFC roster, wants to fight at UFC 205, the UFC’s debut in New York City. The Hawaiian’s preference is to obviously fight for the belt on the landmark card, but he is keeping his options open.

“I’ve been fricking yelling my head off about fighting in Madison Square Garden,” he said. “I wanna fight on that card. That place has got a lot of history, and that’s a history-making card for the UFC; first time in New York, and being at Madison Square Garden, which has had some great ass, huge ass fights. So that’s the card I want to be on.

“If it’s not Conor, if it’s not Aldo because he’s fighting Conor, I hope to get Frankie, or someone else. Dominick Cruz said he wanted to come up to 145 and fight. So there’s a bunch of guys. I’m not gonna sit out for a year and wait for my shot. I wanna fight one more time. I can’t go from fighting four times, to three times, to fighting only one time, in a year. I got bills to pay, I got a mortgage to pay, I got a beautiful wife and son to take care of. We want to go on trips and stuff, so the more fights, the better.”

There are limited slots available for UFC 205. Not every fighter asking to be on the card will receive their wish. Holloway’s not a native of New York or the surrounding area but believes he deserves to be part of the history-making event because he brings it every fight, and never backs down.

“I feel like I’m a fan favorite,” he said. “They like to see me fight. And when you see Max Holloway on the card, you know you’re gonna get a fight. I come and I bring a fight no matter who it is. That’s why I think I deserve to be on the card. There’s a lot of variables that go into it. But I’d like to think I deserve it. I just can’t wait; I can’t wait for the call.”

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