Max Holloway can’t quit on lightweight ambitions

Max Holloway still has lightweight on his mind.

By: Tim Bissell | 5 months ago
Max Holloway can’t quit on lightweight ambitions
Max Holloway at a UFC media day: IMAGO/Diego Ribas

Max Holloway is gearing up to face Arnold Allen in the main event of UFC Kansas City this Saturday. The former UFC featherweight champion will be hoping to get back in the win column, having lost to Alexander Volkanovski in his last fight.

In an interview with ESPN recently, Max Holloway discussed his upcoming fight and also what might be next. Interestingly, ‘Blessed’ stated that the featherweight division might not contain him for long.

When asked if he was tempted to go up to the lightweight division at this stage of his career, Holloway answered “For sure.”

“For this next fight [after Allen], no, but it’s always tempting to go there. You got killers up there and those fights excite me. We just see what happens. It’s always great to go up a weight class when you got a belt around your waist so we’ll see what happens. Never say never. We’ll see what cards we get and we’ll go from there.”

Holloway also added that there was no pressure from the UFC for him to jump from 145 to 155 lbs. He said the lack of pressure from his bosses means there might still be belief that he could face Volkanovski for a fourth time in the future.

Holloway expressed that he believed he and Volkanovski could meet quite soon, providing he impresses against Allen and Volkanovski is triumphant in his UFC featherweight title unification bout with Yair Rodriguez.

Max Holloway’s path to the featherweight title has gotten cloudy

Max Holloway was likely a keen observer of Volkanovski’s recent attempt to wrest the UFC lightweight title from Islam Makhachev. Volkanovski failed to do that, losing a close decision to the Dagestani.

Had Volkanovski won the lightweight title, it was expected that he would have vacated the UFC featherweight title. Without Volkanovski in the title picture at 145 lbs, it would be likely that Holloway would have a chance to compete for the featherweight title again; a belt he held for years and defended three times.

However, with Volkanovski back at 145, Holloway might find it difficult to convince the UFC he deserves a fourth shot against the Aussie. This might be enough to prompt Holloway to try his luck against the best of the best in the lightweight division.

How did Holloway fair in the lightweight division in the past?

Max Holloway’s last fight at lightweight was a 2019 bout with Dustin Poirier for the interim UFC lightweight title. Holloway lost that bout by unanimous decision.

In 2018 Holloway, then UFC featherweight champion, attempted to fill in as a last minute replacement for Tony Ferguson to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the vacant UFC lightweight title. However, after accepting the fight on six days notice, Holloway was pulled from the event on weigh-in day due to health concerns.

Holloway fought as a lightweight at the start of his career. When he debuted on the Hawaiian regional circuit it was at 155 lbs. In his third pro fight he won the X-1 Lightweight Title.

His first ever featherweight bout was at UFC 143 in 2012, against Poirier. He lost that bout by submission.

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About the author
Tim Bissell
Tim Bissell

Tim Bissell is a writer, editor and deputy site manager for Bloody Elbow. He has covered combat sports since 2015. Tim covers news and events and has also written longform and investigative pieces. Among Tim's specialties are the intersections between crime and combat sports. Tim has also covered head trauma, concussions and CTE in great detail.

Tim is also BE's lead (only) sumo reporter. He blogs about that sport here and on his own substack, Sumo Stomp!

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