On Saturday night at UFC 212, Max Holloway won his 11th fight in a row and unified the UFC featherweight titles in Brazil against Jose Aldo (watch the finish here). That streak started back in 2013 following a loss to another great 145-pound fighter: one Conor McGregor.
McGregor went on to win the belt in that weight class himself before moving up to lightweight and being stripped by the UFC. But if McGregor wants to return and face Holloway again, the current champ is down.
“If he wants to come back down, he can come and get it,” Holloway said at the post-fight press conference. “But if not, it is what it is, you know? … I ain’t going to chase someone around. I ain’t going to talk about someone that ain’t talking about me. He gets to choose his fights. Why am I going to cry and beg him to fight me? Get the hell out of here with that s**t. He can beg to fight me now.”
“I ain’t asking no one to fight. I’ve got my throne. If you want it, come see me.”
McGregor’s shadow has loomed large over the featherweight and lightweight divisions where he used to compete, even as the Irish superstar has abandoned both to chase a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather. But Conor could come back sooner than many expect. His coach John Kavanagh recently confirmed to ESPN that McGregor was serious about getting another UFC fight in soon after a Mayweather fight and maybe even before the end of the year.
“The shape he’ll be in post-fight — he’ll obviously be in tip-top shape,” Kavanagh said. “We’d love to get an MMA fight in by the end of the year … I’ve been around Conor for so long and I know to keep everything open. He could ring me the day after this boxing fight and say, ‘Coach, 145 pounds, four weeks,’ and I just wouldn’t be surprised.”
With the performance Holloway had over Aldo, it could be just the thing to get McGregor excited about a return to featherweight.