Max Holloway faces a significant uphill climb if he ever hopes to reclaim the UFC featherweight championship, as long as Alexander Volkanovski holds the top spot. Dana White, the bigwig over at the UFC, ain’t exactly thrilled about the idea of throwing these two top-notch featherweights into the cage for a fourth time. Yep, they’ve danced three times already, all for those shiny title belts.
Since 2013, when Holloway wasn’t scrapping with folks named Volkanovski, he’s been unbeaten in featherweight showdowns—18 wins and no losses. But let’s not forget that Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC) is the kryptonite to his Superman.
Max (25-7 MMA, 21-7 UFC) suffered loss number three against the Aussie champ last July. Still, he dusted off Arnold Allen and even retired “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung with a third-round knockout at UFC Fight Night 225 in Singapore.
Every time Holloway walks out of that cage with a win, the whole world sees that he’s just a cut above the rest. But as he keeps shining like a diamond, folks start pondering what it’d take to set up that monumental fourth showdown against Volkanovski.
The bad news for Holloway is that the Australian champ’s got his number, and that’s like a big ol’ roadblock between Max and the gold.
Volkanovski’s got Holloway’s number—three times, to be precise. He nabbed a unanimous decision win at UFC 145, then edged out a split decision at UFC 251, and in case you thought that wasn’t enough, he scored another unanimous decision at UFC 276.
According to Dana White, there’s a gap so wide between these two that you could sail an aircraft carrier through it. Speaking to the press after DWCS 60, he put it straight: “Volkanovski’s like a dominant force right now. Heck, some folks even think he outplayed Islam (Makhachev). But I’m scratching my head if we should throw Max back into the lion’s den at this point in his journey.”
Now, let’s talk about Volkanovski’s hiccup. The man’s only lost once since he kicked off his pro career back in 2013. And guess who was the spoiler? Makhachev, when he decided to give lightweight a whirl. But Volkanovski went back to his home turf at featherweight. Fought Yair Rodriguez, who was strutting around with that interim title, at UFC 290 in July, and whammo, he unified the whole shebang with a third-round TKO.
While Holloway’s busy cementing his spot as the apex predator, Volkanovski’s doing the same thing, but he’s including Holloway in that group.
Holloway’s on a mission, like a dog after a bone, to take on all comers and earn another shot at the gold. Heck, he might even set up that second showdown saga like the Brandon Moreno vs. Deiveson Figueiredo rollercoaster. And it’ll be a first for this featherweight division, a real cherry on top.
Maybe, just maybe, Holloway will eventually talk some sense into the big boss at the UFC. But for now, White’s slamming the door on that idea like a gust of wind on a chilly day.