Max Holloway talks Alexander Volkanovski’s quick return from knockout, declares ‘I really want my 145 title back’


Max Holloway hates looking ahead, but he also understands that’s the nature of the business.

Ahead of his return against Justin Gaethje at UFC 300, the former featherweight champion’s sole focus remains on the task at hand, which will require him to take out a human car crash known for producing highlight-reel finishes. That said, Holloway isn’t avoiding questions about his future, especially with so much happening that could impact where he goes next after his fight in April.

“First things first is Justin Gaethje,” Holloway told MMA Fighting. “We’ll see what happens. I hate looking forward. What I do like to say, is how I’ve been saying, I have options. I really want my 145 title back. I thought I did enough to get one more shot but they went a different way with the title shot.

“At the end of the day, this opportunity came up and how can you say no? Everything goes good, everything goes great, then I’ll have more options, to say the least. We’ll see what happens.”

To get back to the featherweight title, Holloway will have to go through either Alexander Volkanovski or Ilia Topuria, who battle it out in UFC 298’s main event on Feb. 17.

Of course, Holloway has already dropped three fights to Volkanovski, but he still believes taking out top contenders like Arnold Allen and legends such as “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung will put him right back in the conversation for a fourth matchup.

Volkanovski has been utterly dominant since winning the belt, however his upcoming fight could arguably be his toughest test to date. Beyond Topuria’s devastating power and overall skills, Volkanovski will be fighting just five months after he suffered a nasty knockout in a short-notice fight against UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

Volkanovski stated afterward that he didn’t want to waste any time ridding himself of that terrible feeling following a loss. Just because he wants to fight doesn’t necessarily mean that’s a good idea, but Holloway has faith in Volkanovski and his coaches to do what’s right for him.

“I think Alex is Alex, it’s hard to bet against the guy,” Holloway said. “If you’re a betting man, how do you bet against him? At the end of the day, Alex and his coaches are smart, they know what they’re doing. I think if Alex doesn’t get hurt in the training camp for this fight, I think he’ll be fine. I think their coaches are smart enough, Eugene [Bareman] and his whole core group, they’re all smart guys. I think they’re not going to set up Alex for failure. They’re going to set him up for success.

“I think if the fight goes through, everything is happening, that means Alex had a great camp. I think he’ll be fine.”

Holloway also offered high praise to Topuria, who remains undefeated with a perfect 14-0 record including six straight wins in the UFC.

“I know Topuria is a killer,” Holloway said. “He’s a killer in every way of the sense. He’s a young guy but we’ll see what happens. All these times somebody was supposed to do something to me, all these young guys, and I go out there and have a great fight.”

Holloway confesses that offering predictions might be one of the things he likes least about the sport, but in this particular case, he can’t just bet against the reigning featherweight champion.

In theory, Topuria winning would almost certainly clear the path for Holloway to get another title shot, but he just doesn’t play the game that way.

“I hate picking fights,” Holloway said. “But if I was a betting man, it’s hard to bet against Alex, but I can understand why people are going with Topuria.”


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