Max Holloway will dare to do something that only one other UFC fighter has done when he steps into the Octagon against Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 223. If Holloway wins, he’ll follow Conor McGregor as the only fighter to hold two titles simultaneously. Unlike McGregor, however, Holloway will have to pull off the feat on six days notice against the unbeaten Nurmagomedov after stepping in for the injured Tony Ferguson.
But if the UFC featherweight champion pulls off what oddsmakers deem as highly improbable this weekend, Holloway may already have plans to one-up McGregor — who is the last fighter to beat him.
“I think he wants to do what the other champion didn’t and make a statement, make a point that way,” Holloway’s manager, Brian Butler-Au said to “The MMA Hour.” That statement, according to Butler-Au, would be Holloway going back down in weight and defending his featherweight title. It’s something that Conor McGregor never did after he captured the lightweight title by defeating Eddie Alvarez in November 2016. As a matter of fact, McGregor has yet to defend the lightweight title, either. It muddles the situation a bit considering Holloway will be squaring off against Nurmagomedov for the “undisputed” title that McGregor never lost while Ferguson is unable to compete due to injury.
That’s for UFC president Dana White to sort out but, either way, Holloway winning would make him the undisputed featherweight and lightweight champion. And, according to Butler-Au, he fully intends on defending both titles before making a permanent move to 155 pounds.
“I do know that his time as a 145er was probably going to be on the clock soon, but he had full intentions to defend it two or three more times before he made any moves,” Butler-Au said. So my guess from knowing Max is he’s going to want to do something that hasn’t been done.”
Obviously, if and when Conor McGregor decides to return, he’ll most certainly have something to say about a man that he holds a victory over and would be in possession of two titles that McGregor never lost in a fight. But, until then, it’s Holloway’s opportunity of a lifetime and one he never considered passing up on when it was presented to him.
“Max is a different breed,” Butler-Au said. “Knowing him, all I need to do without even letting him know is I’ve just got to shield him and let him stay focused. He probably won’t skip a beat. I wouldn’t be surprised if he does his normal week. But as his manager and as his teammate would say, we’re just trying to minimize everything right now and get it focused, because we’ve never done anything on this short of notice. He’s going to be ready. He’s ready. He’s extremely pumped. Extremely pumped.”
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