Dana White wants Max Holloway to move to lightweight following UFC 231 title defence

UFC President Dana White wants featherweight champion Max Holloway to move up to the lightweight division following his impressive UFC 231 title defence against Brian Ortega.

Holloway cemented his status as the king of the UFC featherweight division with his stoppage victory over Ortega, and White believes there’s nothing left for the Hawaiian to prove down at 145lbs.

In White’s eyes, the next step for Holloway is to compete against the sharks up at the 155lbs lightweight limit.

“Listen, Max is a grown man and we need to talk but I’d like to see Max go to [155] now,” White said at the UFC 231 post-fight press conference. “I think that the guy is 27 going on 28 years old, he’s in the prime of his life, never looked better. Continues to improve every single fight that he’s in and I think he’s done everything he can do at [145].

“Why keep cutting that weight and I think there’s some big things for him at 55.”

2018 hasn’t been easy for Holloway, but he is ending the year on a high. He has suffered numerous health issues throughout the year, including one involving a weight cut.

At UFC 223, he looked to step in on six days’ notice to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov for the UFC lightweight title after Tony Ferguson was ruled out with injury. However, Holloway was pulled out of the contest by the New York State Athletic Commission due to the severity of the weight cut.

The Hawaiian was then set to defend his featherweight belt against Ortega in July at UFC 226, but was withdrawn from the fight due to suffering “concussion-like symptoms” in the lead-up.

Holloway first won the UFC interim featherweight championship against Anthony Pettis – a former UFC and WEC lightweight champion – at UFC 206.

“Blessed” then went on to win the belt for real against the division’s most revered fighter Jose Aldo, before defending the title against the Brazilian immediately after. Holloway won both fights by TKO.

Now, after blemishing Ortega’s unbeaten record and seemingly unstoppable at featherweight despite his recent health scares, White believes the lightweight division should be Holloway’s new home from here on.

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes

Jake Hughes is an MMA writer who has covered the sport since 2013 for publications such as Vice Sports, Fightland, Sherdog and now Fighters Only, where he serves as freelance digital editor.