What’s next for Max Holloway?


Sgt. James K. McCann

UFC Featherweight Champion Max “Blessed” Holloway answers questions during a show for troops at Bagram Air Field, Afghanistan; the fifth stop on the annual Vice Chairman’s USO Tour, April 26, 2018. Comedian Jon Stewart, country music artist Craig Morgan, celebrity chef Robert Irvine, professional fighters Max “Blessed” Holloway and Paige VanZant, and NBA Legend Richard “Rip” Hamilton will join Gen. Selva on a tour across the world as they visit service members overseas to thank them for their service and sacrifice. (DoD Photo by U.S. Army Sgt. James K. McCann)

After a dominant performance against Arnold Allen on April 15, it begs the question, what next for Max Holloway?

Holloway won by decision with nearly 80 more strikes and an overall strong performance.  These statistics clearly make him deserving of a title shot, but after his multiple losses to current title-holder Alexander Volkanovski, victory is not a guarantee.  While there are still options for him it’s starting to get shaky for Holloway.

First, take into account the division he’s in and who the best fighters are surrounding him. If he were to cut more weight and move down to bantamweight, he would enter one of the most skilled divisions in the world. The difficulty of cutting that weight, combined with the overload of talent, makes that move nearly impossible. 

If he were to move up a weight class and fight at lightweight, he would have to take on Islam Makhachev, arguably the greatest wrestler in the world.  With Holloway’s main threat coming from his punches, this would be a really tough matchup for him. Whatever is next for Holloway, it will most likely be at Featherweight.

An immediate title shot is hindered by his record against Volkanovski. The two have faced off three times, with Volkanovski walking away the winner each time.  The majority of people don’t want to see this fight again, and that is a big problem for Holloway.  There will be hope for him if Yair Rodríguez, who is the interim title holder, is able to defeat Volkanovski in their upcoming fight.  Although that would be Holloway’s ideal route to the belt, it mainly hinges on luck.

Another option for him would be to take on another high-level fighter to earn a title shot. While this is a somewhat riskier option as a loss would take him out of the picture completely, it is probably his best path. Brian Ortega is the highest ranked fighter he could take and is the safest option as Holloway has beaten him in the past.  A slightly more interesting fight is Holloway facing off against Chan Sung Jung, the “Korean Zombie.” It would be a great send off for the now 36-year-old Jung who has attracted a cult-like following.  

Holloway should wait and see the winner of Volkanovski and Rodríguez before making a decision. If Rodrígeuz wins, then he should push for an immediate title fight. If Volkanovski wins or if he isn’t given a title shot, Holloway should push for a co-main event with the “Korean Zombie.”