After Max Holloway defended his title against Brian Ortega at UFC 231 by doctor’s stoppage between rounds four and five, there has been a lot of discussion about where Holloway lies in terms of all-time great status. The current UFC Featherweight champ is only 27 years of age, leaving him with an abundance of time to grow and improve what is already an extremely well-rounded skillset. At such a young age, Max “Blessed” Holloway holds a number of UFC records, a number of which were set on Saturday night. Holloway now holds the records for most significant strikes in one fight (290), most significant strikes in one round (134), most UFC featherweight victories (15), and is the only man to ever defeat Brian “T-City” Ortega.
Following the event’s end at the Scotiabank Arena, Dana White spoke to the media. One of the key talking points in the build-up to the fight was if Holloway would be able to reach the weight limit, and how the weight cut would impact his performance, with Dana White recently stating that he feels the champ is just “too big” to remain in competition at 145lbs. Holloway’s weight and health issues are not the only reason that the UFC boss would like to see the featherweight champion move up to lightweight, White believes that there are several exciting fights that can be made with Holloway in the 155lbs division.
“Max is a grown man and we need to talk, but I’d like to see Max go to ‘55 now. I think that the guy’s 27 going on 28 years old, he’s in the prime of his life, never looked better. Continues to improve with every single fight that he’s in and I think he’s done everything he can do at ‘45.
“Why keep cutting that weight? I think there’s some big things for him at ‘55.”
White informed the media that he hopes to have “a lot of influence” over the weight class that it is decided Holloway will compete in next. Later on in the evening, when Holloway had the floor at the post-fight press conference, he made it clear that he was open to fighting anyone at lightweight who would be interested.
If White is able to come to an agreement with Holloway to have him move up, it would create the possibility to pit him against the greatest lightweight fighters in the world. Current champ Khabib Nurmagomedov, long-time contender Tony Ferguson, and a potential rematch against the last man to beat him at featherweight, Conor McGregor. White made it clear that he is in favour of the idea of having Holloway compete at 155lbs: “If Holloway goes to ‘55, everybody in the top-five is a fun fight for him,”
On the subject of Conor McGregor, Dana White was given the question of the future of the featherweight division should Max Holloway make the jump up to lightweight. Would the division struggle in the absence of Holloway? After all, he was the man responsible for revitalising the division after Conor McGregor made the decision to chase the lightweight title. White made it known that he is aware of that potential issue, but stated that what’s best for Max Holloway is the main priority at the moment.
“I want what’s right for Max,” the UFC President said. “What’s right for Max might not necessarily be what’s right for the division, but we’ll figure that out. I think after his last issues I think it would be better for him physically and every other way to move up to 155 pounds. He has not said one word to me so we’ll see how he feels about that. He and I will talk about it and we’ll go from there.”
With the addition of previously undefeated Brian Ortega to 13-fight win streak, it’s yet another formidable opponent in Holloway’s already remarkable resume. White said, “It’s impossible not to talk about him among the all-time greats.”
White was proud of Holloway’s spirit and the way in which he impressively bounced back after a tough year that had the champion missing out on three bouts due to cancellations for a number reasons.
“I think there were a lot of questions coming into this fight. Obviously, no questions about how good Max Holloway was, but he had a couple of tough times making the weight. We got him tested medically. We knew he was healthy, we knew he was safe, he went into this cut, seemed great through the whole thing, and obviously came in and performed tonight at another level. He looked unbelievable.