Two rounds into Conor McGregor’s ongoing social media battle with UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway, it would be difficult not to have Holloway up 20-18 using the 10-point must scoring system.
And that might even be a little generous to McGregor.
Back in December, shortly after Holloway scored his second straight stoppage win over Jose Aldo – a win that had many observers, including veteran UFC commentator Joe Rogan, suggesting the ‘Blessed’ one had entered the conversation about who is the greatest featherweight of all time – McGregor posted a little reminder of his previous victory over the Hawaiian to Twitter.
Alongside a picture of Holloway looking pretty banged up, McGregor wrote, “I miss those sunglasses” – a reference to the shades that he is wearing deep in the background of the shot.
I miss those sunglasses. pic.twitter.com/0fa7U9dM4Y
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 3, 2017
The snap had clearly been taken in Boston on August 17th of 2013, just after McGregor had scored a unanimous decision win over Holloway at UFC Fight Night 26. McGregor, himself a former featherweight champ who never lost the belt in the octagon, was clearly interjecting himself into that greatest featherweight conversation – in which, of course, he belongs – just in case anybody had forgotten his exploits in the division.
Though he isn’t really known for his trash-talking abilities, Holloway’s response to the post was a peach.
“Miss the sunglasses?” wrote Holloway on Twitter. “I bet you also miss 2015 brother. Retired fighters love the past.”
Miss the sunglasses? I bet you also miss 2015 brother. Retired fighters love the past. pic.twitter.com/UWGnJG2KEe
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) December 3, 2017
Round 1 – Holloway.
Over the weekend, McGregor initiated social media scuffle number two, posting a pic from that August 2013 scrap in which he can be seen holding Holloway against the fence with one hand and setting him up for what appears to be a knee or head kick.
The caption read, “When there is no referee to save you.”
The timing of the post was interesting, as it came just hours after it emerged that Holloway had sustained an injury and would be unable to defend his title against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222 on March 3rd in Las Vegas as scheduled.
In response, Holloway posted a picture taken at the close of McGregor’s most recent combat sports outing, a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr., which ‘The Notorious’ one lost via tenth-round TKO. The shot captured a moment just after the fight had been stopped when veteran referee Robert Byrd was holding a slightly dazed McGregor against the ropes.
“When there is,” wrote Holloway.
When there is pic.twitter.com/b4H3CC85B9
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) February 4, 2018
Parried and countered. Round 2 – Holloway.
Since they met on that late summer evening in 2013, both McGregor and Holloway have really surged. Then, McGregor was still very much an unproven commodity but he clearly had superstar potential. Holloway was but a youngster and he had already suffered two defeats in the UFC before the clash with McGregor, but he was obviously very talented and still developing.
McGregor went on to fulfil that potential and then some, winning seven of his next eight after returning from a serious knee injury that he suffered against Holloway, claiming both the UFC featherweight and lightweight belts along the way, securing a previously unfathomable crossover bout with Floyd Mayweather Jr. that likely garnered him a nine-figure payday, and establishing himself as the biggest star in MMA history.
Holloway went on to win twelve consecutive fights, eleven at featherweight and another at a 149-pound catchweight. He claimed the interim title with a stoppage win over former lightweight king Anthony Pettis in late 2016 and then the undisputed featherweight title with a TKO of the aforementioned Aldo in the summer of 2017 before making a successful first defence by finishing the Brazilian legend again in December.
While Holloway never really seemed to be on McGregor’s radar in the years that followed their first fight, his recent performances have obviously grabbed the Dubliner’s attention, and rightfully so.
During an appearance on The MMA Hour last month, Holloway stated, not for the first time, that an eventual move to lightweight, where McGregor maintains a tenuous grasp on the title, is an inevitability, adding that it could come “sooner rather than later” if the UFC continues to add new protocols in an effort to curb extreme weight-cutting.
McGregor hasn’t fought in the octagon since November of 2016 when he decimated Eddie Alvarez to win the UFC lightweight title in New York. In a recent interview, however, the SBG Ireland product said that he is currently in negotiations for his next fight. Against whom that will be remains to be seen, although UFC president Dana White has insisted that McGregor will have to commit to a defence against the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Khabib Nurmagomedov if he wants to keep his title.
With every win that Holloway scores and every social media jab he exchanges with McGregor, however, a future rematch between the pair becomes more intriguing and even more marketable.