Once the featherweight title bout at UFC 251 came to it’s conclusion, there weren’t many people around who thought that Max Holloway would be leaving without the belt.
After winning the first three rounds in many people’s eyes, Volkanovski rallied in that bout to take the last two and allowed the judges to have a decision to make. Ultimately, they ruled that the Aussie retained.
Holloway was confused and heartbroken, but he didn’t let it stop him or hold him back.
After a short break away from the cage, ‘Blessed’ returned at Fight Island in the first card of 2021 to take on Calvin Kattar in a bout right at the top of the division.
What ensued was a clear sign that Holloway was at the peak of his powers and one of the very best 145-pound fighters that has ever existed in MMA.
It was a masterful display of striking against someone who many considered to be one of the best strikers in the division. He broke record upon record for total strikes and significant strikes in a bout and showed the world that his claim to being the best boxer in the UFC wasn’t just words.
He was set to be the next challenger for the title once again, only for the Volkanovsi vs Brian Ortega fight to get postponed due to Covid-19. Instead of waiting around and staying inactive, Holloway opted to take a fight against the ever-dangerous Yair Rodriguez instead.
Holloway unfortunately got an injury and was forced to withdraw from the original date in July which has put his year out of funk, but he once again agreed to the bout for UFC Vegas 42 despite the title fight now having taken place.
The 29-year-old has maintained the attitude of ‘anyone, any time, any place’ even since losing the title. A ranking is irrelevant to the Hawaiian, because if he is truly the best in the world as he believes he is then he should win anyway.
A truly inspirational mindset and one that has kept him at the forefront of everyone’s mind when discussing the title picture.
Kattar believed a win over Holloway set him up for a title shot immediately because of the weight his name carries. Ortega revealed that if he had beaten Volkanovski then he wanted his first defence to be against Holloway not only for revenge, but because he’s still seen as the best in the world.
Holloway knows that a victory confirms his place as the number one contender, but he knows a loss could potentially set him back in his quest to earn back the title he still calls his.
But that’s Holloway and that’s why he is so popular. He expects to win every fight he is in and fans love him. Now this weekend he will look to show once again why he is the people’s champion, knowing a win gets him back in the hunt to be the UFC champion.