Max Holloway sees himself more as a Demetrious Johnson than a Conor McGregor.
Johnson, the reigning UFC flyweight champion, has defended his title on 12 occasions since scooping the prize in September 2012. McGregor on the other hand has never defended a professional title. Not the Cage Warriors featherweight strap he won in June 2012, not the Cage Warriors lightweight title he secured later that year, not the UFC featherweight belt he ripped from Jose Aldo in December 2015, nor the UFC lightweight title he won in November of last year.
After he defeated Aldo to claim the UFC featherweight title in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday night, Holloway showed up at the post-fight press conference in a suit that put one in mind of the Irishman and took over the media event just like ‘The Notorious’ one habitually does. However, the 25-year-old soon informed the media that he doesn’t have any intention of hopping from one weight-class to another a la McGregor, neglecting his duties as champion in the process. Nor does the Hawaiian plan on chasing a rematch with the SBG Ireland product, who is the last man to inflict defeat upon him.
“That guy was the 2015 [featherweight] champ,” said Holloway of McGregor. “He should go run around where ever he is with the belt and celebrate it, because, guess what, you can’t take that away from him. But this is called the year 2017 right now. He is the 2015 champ and I’m the champ. If he wants to come back down, he can come and get it. But if not, it is what it is.”
“He is a different kind of guy. He is the guy who is always looking over the fence. He is always trying to look for the next big thing. Not like Demetrious Johnson. [Johnson] finds this motivation to keep defending, keep defending. It takes a special human being to do that. And that’s me. I want to defend my throne. All my fans know and love me because I want to defend this. I want to show I’m the champ. Come and try to take over my village; off with your head. That’s what I’m going to do.
“This guy [Conor McGregor] is over there always trying to look for the bigger thing. And that’s him, good for him. But at the end of the day, it is what it is. I’m not going to chase someone around. I ain’t going to talk about someone who isn’t talking about me. He gets to choose his fights, why would I cry or beg for him to fight me? Get the hell out of here. Actually, he can beg to fight me now, dog. I’m coming to the point where people are going to start asking me to fight. I got my throne. If you want it, come see me.”
“I don’t want to hold up my division. Like I said, I got a throne. In the olden days, if the king left and someone came and raided the village and took over, they took over. If I leave and someone takes my belt, I can’t be mad, I left my village unattended. I’m going to stay in my village and any stupid ass that’s dumb enough to test me is going to find out the hard way…I’m going to put your head on a stick.”
Holloway lost a three-round decision to McGregor in August 2013. During that fight, McGregor tore his ACL and was subsequently sidelined for almost a year. However, the Dubliner claimed the UFC featherweight belt from Aldo just seventeen months and five fights after his July 2014 return.
In the months that followed his title victory, McGregor would go on an odyssey that saw him take on multiple fights at welterweight before he wrested the lightweight belt from Eddie Alvarez at UFC 205. The promotion stripped him of the featherweight belt a few weeks later and Aldo, who had claimed an interim featherweight title with a decision win over Frankie Edgar at UFC 200, was promoted to champion once again. Days later, Holloway beat Anthony Pettis to claim yet another interim strap and set himself up for a shot at Aldo.
By bludgeoning the Brazilian to a stoppage defeat in Rio, Holloway secured not only the undisputed championship but also his eleventh consecutive win since McGregor beat him in Boston. Under the circumstances, expect there to be quite a clamour for a rematch between Holloway and McGregor. But with Holloway seemingly determined to remain at 145lbs and McGregor’s future looking uncertain, that sequel is unlikely to happen anytime soon.