When Max Holloway meets UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for a third time this Saturday at UFC 276, it’ll be a diverse event in extra techniques than one.
Holloway will no longer most effective grow to be the major UFC fighter to subject for a belt in a trilogy the attach he’s already down 0-2, UFC 276’s co-major event also will imprint notion to be one of many rare cases of top pound-for-pound warring parties colliding with such momentous stakes. Holloway is currently MMA Combating’s No. 6 ranked fighter in the world, whereas Volkanovski is sitting at No. 3.
“Whereas you inquire at it this kind, it’s crazy. When in the closing decade did this struggle occur, the attach two top guys in the reside 10 pound-for-pound rankings occur?” Holloway acknowledged Monday on The MMA Hour. “How over and over did it occur? The final observe guys that come to ideas is ‘DC’ [Daniel Cormier] and [Jon] Jones. That’s doubtlessly top-of-the-line guys. And we’re here now, and this struggle, these gadgets don’t occur. And these are the issues that excite me. We uncover to be a section of that history. And to you guys, to the final hardcore fans, here’s what they need.
“They wish the final observe of the final observe combating every other — and they also’re. These top pound-for-pound warring parties don’t warring parties don’t struggle every other. They excellent don’t. It doesn’t occur. It happens every so in most cases in a decade, and we’re getting blessed with one appropriate now.”
Holloway and Volkanovski beforehand fought twice with the UFC featherweight belt on the toll road, first colliding in 2019 and on the replacement hand in 2020. Volkanovski dominated Holloway in their initial time out at UFC 245 to remove Holloway’s 145-pound title. The immediate rematch at UFC 251 used to be a mighty closer affair, but in the extinguish Volkanovski edged out a controversial split resolution to continue his championship reign.
Since then, both males dangle racked up two wins every. Holloway took out Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez to get his manner help to a third shot, whereas Volkanovski dispatched Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung to cement his hiss as notion to be one of many reside pound-for-pound warring parties in the game.
“We’re here for a motive,” Holloway acknowledged. “If it used to be so guaranteed already, we wouldn’t were here. So I’m capable of’t wait. I’m capable of’t wait to flow demonstrate. Pretty diverse history on the toll road, diverse legacy on the toll road, 0-0 Max is getting into into there attempting to search out a conclude. So I’m capable of’t wait.
“I’ll struggle this struggle excellent love how I fought every other struggle — uncover it irresistible’s my first and it would be my closing. So I’ve been in there 10 rounds with the man. I have confidence excellent, I have confidence assured, and I’ve been announcing we’ll be fortunate if we uncover previous three on this one.”
It’s a excessive-stakes crossroads for Holloway.
The 30-year-broken-down mature champion is broadly identified as notion to be one of many final observe featherweights in the game’s history, then all all over again falling into an 0-3 hole in the trilogy would successfully reside his potentialities at ever reclaiming the belt as long as Volkanovski is UFC champion.
Holloway knows his legacy is already right as notion to be one of many greats of the generation, but that doesn’t mean he’s lisp material with what he already performed.
“On the reside of the day, I continually rapid myself the belt doesn’t account for you,” Holloway acknowledged. “I’m a champion. I’ve been telling all individuals that. I’m going to be a champion and I was a champion from since when I freakin’ bought into the UFC. That’s excellent the manner that you just’ve bought to lift your self. Whereas you don’t lift your self that manner, then why are you combating? Are you combating to be the 2nd easiest in the world? That is unnecessary.
“So I take care of telling myself that I’m the final observe and I’m the champ, and it is what it is. Whereas you disagree, then we can figure it out in the octagon.”
There’s an additional caveat too, no longer less than nearly about what a derive can also mean for the futures of both males. Volkanovski has already spoken brazenly about looking out to transfer up to 155 kilos and subject for the lightweight belt and two-division glory. In fresh months, UFC president Dana White has voiced his receptiveness to the theory.
Could perhaps the same replacement be on the desk for Holloway if he wins at UFC 276?
“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway acknowledged. “By no approach declare never, appropriate? There’s interesting fights up there, in particular with [Charles] Oliveira main the pack and stuff. So we’ll see what happens. I’m capable of’t wait. First issues first, it’s Alex, July 2. Let’s bring help balance to the world.”