Max Holloway addresses his future at featherweight ahead of UFC 236

Damon Martin
MMA Weekly

Max Holloway has accomplished a lot already in his UFC career but he’s far from finished when it comes to history making moments.

At UFC 236, the 27-year-old Hawaiian will move up to 155 pounds where he faces Dustin Poirier in the main event with the interim lightweight title on the line.

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If he’s victorious, Holloway would become the fourth fighter in UFC history — joining Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier and Amanda Nunes — to hold two championships in two separate divisions simultaneously.

Holloway is already a two-time defending featherweight champion with a pair of TKO wins over Jose Aldo, who is arguably the greatest 145-pound fighter in history, not to mention his dominant victory against previously undefeated foe Brian Ortega last December.

Now with the fight against Poirier on Saturday night with the winner then expected to unify the title against Khabib Nurmagomedov later this year, Holloway has his sights set on a lot of action in the lightweight division in 2019.

Obviously getting the job done at UFC 236 is paramount but even with a win over Poirier this weekend, Holloway still has no desire to give up his featherweight belt just because he’s got business to handle at lightweight.

“First things first, we’ve got Dustin and then I keep hearing the one after this is maybe Khabib in September,” Holloway told MMAWeekly ahead of UFC 236. “I’m really going to have to sit down and talk to the UFC about that. I want to figure it out. A king defends his throne. We’ll sit down with the UFC after this fight, we’ll see how it goes first. All my attention is on Dustin for sure.

“Everybody is talking about me being the fourth person that might be able to be the simultaneous [two-division champion] but I want to be the champ that holds both and defends both. That’s always the end game.”

As of now, the 145-pound division will move forward attempting to build a new top contender to potentially await Holloway’s return but no decisions will be made by the UFC until at least after Saturday night’s main event is finished.

Former rugby player turned fighter Alexander Volkanovski could be the next person in line to challenge for the title if he can get past Aldo in May. Holloway has never hand-picked any of his past opponents and he certainly wouldn’t start now if Volkanovski ends up as the next No. 1 contender.

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Of course as much as the featherweight title means to him, Holloway has to stay focused on the task at hand, which means winning the interim lightweight championship and avenging the first loss of his UFC career.

At just 20 years of age, Holloway accepted a short notice bout against Poirier back in 2014 but ultimately fell by first round submission.

Now five years later, Holloway is regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport and he’s excited to not only win his second divisional title but also get back that loss that started his UFC career.

“Like I said before, all these guys are cupcakes and I got to eat a little bit more cupcakes in this camp. I get to retry a flavor I had seven years ago,” Holloway stated. “Hopefully it tastes better this time around.”

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