Max Holloway reasserted himself as the man to be reckoned with in the UFC featherweight division even if he no longer holds championship gold.
The former UFC champion at 145 pounds put on a record-making performance that will live long in the memory as he dominated his hardy opponent Calvin Kattar over five rounds at the new Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi.
Holloway has already fought UFC featherweigth champion Alexander Volkanovski, the man who took his title from him, twice and lost on both occasions, though the result of the second contest was somewhat controversial.
After being impressed with the Hawaiian’s legendary showing against Kattar on Saturday, UFC President Dana White said Holloway has earned a title shot next – even if it’s a third go at Australia’s Volkanovski should he get past Brian Ortega at UFC 260 in March.
“I think we have to [make a third fight between Holloway and Volkanovski]. I think we have to,” White said at the UFC on ABC 1 post-fight press conference. “I mean, when you’re the champion, you have the top five guys in the world gunning at you. When you’re the No. 1 contender in the world, you’ve got the top 10 guys in the world. Sometimes, No. 8 is more dangerous than No. 3.
“Tonight, he fought a bad dude that a lot of people thought was going to beat him. He went out and treated him like No. 6, so he did what he needed to do in spectacular fashion tonight. I think that he deserves to fight Volkanovski again.”
Volkanovski has more than his hands full with Ortega coming up and, in the past, has said that the Holloway chapter in his career is well behind him after two victories over “Blessed.” However, White says even Volkanovski can’t deny Holloway a trilogy fight after seeing that performance against Kattar if he can defend his belt against Ortega.
“A lot of people whom I respect thought Calvin Kattar was going to win this fight tonight,” White added. “The way that he [Holloway] looked, Volkanovski can’t even deny Max deserves another shot.”