At UFC 231 Max Holloway proved that 145 is his kingdom.
The Blessed Express stopped in T City this past weekend and wrecked everything in its path. Max Holloway landed a crazy 290 significant strikes within four rounds against a very game Brian Ortega, with 134 of those strikes coming in the fourth and final round and ultimately proving the discrepancy in striking skill between the two that was already mightily obvious prior to the start of the fight.
Max added Ortega’s name to his already impressive resume which includes former 145 champ Jose Aldo twice, former 155 champ Anthony Pettis and perennial contenders such as Cub Swanson & Jeremy Stephens. And many are toting Max as the now Greatest of All Time Featherweight, Max himself said after the fight he still believes that Jose Aldo is the 145 GOAT, and gave praise and respect to his UFC 231 opponent, showing his class matches his level of skill in the Octagon.
But as is the way in the sport, everyone is looking ahead to what faces Holloway next.
The most talked about topic is the prospect of Holloway moving up to the Lightweight Division. UFC President Dana White has repeatedly said he feels Max is too big for the 145 weight class, this coming after Max was pulled out of 2 Featherweight Title fights this year due to health issues and weight cut problems, and another during the crazy week of UFC 233 against Khabib.
The lightweight division is already the UFC’s shark tank, adding another killer like Holloway gives the chance for some amazing matchups, there are rematches against Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor, who gave Max his 2 of only 3 losses inside the Octagon.
There’s the fight against Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov which were gifted earlier this year and then cruelly snatched away from us within in the space of a couple days, which in this day and age of Superfights and Champ vs Champ bouts could be a very likely affair, although would no doubt be another kick in the teeth for Tony Ferguson if he doesn’t get his shot at Khabib.
Although Tony is also another possible opponent for Max to enter into the 155 division against, and with the possibility of Khabib being out for an extended period of time, and with how much we know Dana loves to inject a PPV with a random Interim Title, its a very real chance we could see Holloway vs Ferguson for an interim Lightweight title.
But if Max had his way then he’d happily stay at 145 and defend his title, he seems to finally have sorted out his health issues and made weight with ease for his bout with Ortega. And there’s still plenty of matchups there for him, albeit none as lucrative or big named as the potential fights at 155, but still rather intriguing fights.
There will always be interest for a fight against Frankie Edgar, who with his own impressive resume and the fact that their UFC 222 fight fell through, you could easily make a case that The Answer is next in line, who’s wrestling could pose a problem for Max if the fight does reach the ground.
Meanwhile, you have Chad Mendes taking on up and comer Alex Volkanovski, who are both proficient wrestlers and the style that might have the best shot at shutting down Max’s stellar offence.
And lastly you have Renato Moicano, who is looking fierce off the back off a submission win over division gatekeeper Cub Swanson, and could be in line for a title shot with a couple more wins in the division.
Although no one can tell what the future holds, it seems very likely that the Blessed Express will show no sign of slowing down, with arguably the greatest striker in MMA today as it’s driver, and at only 27 years of age, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Max Holloway reign at the top of this sport for a long time to come.