If before this fight Holloway had been somehow been under your radar I guarantee you he’s not anymore.
Holloway had a quiet start to his fighting career in terms of popularity – which is reminiscent to his personality. He’s not outspoken, he doesn’t trash talk his opponents. You could almost compare him to Dan Henderson in the way he conducts himself with his opponents. He’s cordial and respectful. He’s not there to talk shit, he’s there to fight. He would probably let you know if your show lace was untied the day before he was going to try and punch your lights out. He’s a different beast when he’s in that cage though.
Max started his MMA career at 4-0 before the UFC picked him up in 2012, just 4 years ago at the age of 21. In that time he’s fought a staggering 14 times. Now that’s a guy who loves to fight! He made his debut against Dustin Poirier in just his fifth career fight! Talk about having a tough first match up. This would be Poiriers 13th fight inside the cage. Poirier had come from the WEC and this would be his fourth fight inside the UFC against Holloway.
Some might say Max was getting fed to a wolf in terms of their standings and you’re probably right. For Max to fight Poirier on his fifth ever fight, on his DEBUT UFC fight at the age of 21 is nothing less than bad ass. Poirier got him with a mounted Triangle and won, but was Poirier the real winner? Some might say Max. That type of fight against that level of competition so early in your career is massive experience and can only do great things for your future.
Max went on to fight a few more times before facing Conor Mcgregor. Mcgregor was a huge favorite and rightfully so. He had experience on Max and was a former two division champ at Cage Rage. Max brought it like he always does. It was a close fight, Conor won, but it was close. At the time it was no big deal. The dust settled and the two fighters went their own ways. Looking back at that fight now it’s a completely different story. Conor went on to KO his next 5 opponents, including the featherweight kingpin Jose Aldo for the featherweight championship in 13 seconds. Conor’s next fight was against Nate Diaz who beat the shit out of him and finished him. The rematch happened between Diaz and Mcgregor and that went to a tough gruelling 5 round decision which Mcgregor just etched out although many people scored the fight for Diaz.
Now looking back on what happened, Diaz – the bigger man, was the only other fighter to take Mcgregor to a decision just like Holloway did. No one knew how special Mcgregor would be at that time, which in turn meant no one meant how special it would be for Holloway to be the only other man to take Mcgregor to a decision. He’s also a true featherweight, not a big lightweight like Diaz. He doesn’t have a size or durability advantage, he relies on his skill set.
Speed up to now since Holloway v Mcgregor happened. Holloway fought 9 more times, 8 of those fights happened in the span of 2 years! He’s the Cerrone of the featherweight division! 6/9 fights he’s finished. All of those fights were against top guys. Jeremy Stephens, Ricardo Lamas, Charles Olivieria, Cub Swanson, Cole Miller and Andre Fili to name a few of them. He’s almost wiped out the division apart from a few top guys like Aldo and Edgar. You could say since Mcgregor and Holloway have fought, Holloway has fought higher competition and he’s got more finishes and hasn’t LOST.
At the writing of this Holloway is 24 years old. This guy has got future champion written all over him.
His latest fight against Lamas propelled him immensely but I still think he’s heavly unnoticed. The hardcores know who he is, they’ve had their eye on him BEFORE he even fought Mcgregor. But that Lamas fight, damn! He was in control of the whole fight and could have easily breezed to a comfortable decision, what does Holloway do? He eye balls Lamas and points to the ground to throw down the ‘fuck it lets bang’ challenge. They start swinging for the fences for the final 10 seconds of the fight! Now that’s a dude who just loves to throw down.
Max Holloway. If he isn’t on your radar yet he should be. Future legend of the sport. Future champion. Legitimate bad ass.