Who is Next for Max Holloway?

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Who is Next for Max Holloway?

UFC 276 was a tough night at the office for Max Holloway as he failed to reclaim the 145-pound title that he once held and was handed a third loss by Alexander Volkanovski in the process. Holloway showcased his toughness and durability in the third fight of this trilogy against the current champion, but this contest was by far the most convincing loss out of the three.

Volkanovski was winning every round, landing the bigger strikes, and making Holloway’s offense ineffective while heavy strikes kept landing on the Hawaiian. Now with three losses to the sitting champion, another campaign to earn a featherweight title shot would seem implausible. However, due to the name value of Holloway and the possibility of moving up to 155 pounds, there are new and fresh faces for him to challenge.

Conor McGregor

A rematch of a 2013 contest between Holloway and the superstar Conor McGregor may be the best move for both former champions. Fans have always debated what would happen if the two were to meet again as both were not close to finished products at the time. The Irish superstar won the fight via unanimous decision by using his striking and then his grappling in the latter portions of the contest.

Most would favor Holloway in this matchup because of his youth, durability, cardio, and activity, especially against a McGregor who is coming off of a major injury and a long layoff.

However, due to the nature of the Hawaiian’s loss to Volkanovski, fans may feel the fight will be a close contest. The two have gone back and forth on Twitter multiple times and have been linked to possibly fighting shortly.

Rafael dos Anjos

Former lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos recently was knocked out by rising contender and striking specialist Rafael Fiziev. Fiziev is deserving of a battle with another rising contender or a top-five contender. Dos Anjos, though, is now in a little bit of a no man’s land in the rankings since most of the fighters surrounding them are mostly coming off of losses.

Max Holloway would be a great option because RDA is still ranked in the top 10, but he won’t have the urgency to take a fight in the top five. A fight between RDA and Holloway could be one of the very few big fights in the sport that doesn’t have a belt on the line since you would have a former lightweight champion in dos Anjos going against a former featherweight champion in Holloway.

Justin Gaejthe

Justin Gaejthe vs Max Holloway would be an excellent fight even without divisional stakes. Both men like to strike, but with their own unique style.  Gaethje with his leg kicks and accurate right hand and left hook sometimes moving forward or sometimes he likes to move laterally and tries to get opponents countered by his accurate and powerful right hand. This type of style can give Holloway problems as we have seen him struggle with power hitters like Dustin Poirier and we have also seen him be susceptible to leg kicks and counter strikes against Volkanovski.

Holloway has an excellent diversity of kicks along with working his opponent’s body with punches, kicks, and knees, and we have seen Gaethje struggle with these traits when he fought Charles Oliveira, Dustin Poirier, and Eddie Alvarez. Plus he has a good ability to take shots and keep moving forward.

A contest between these two is winnable for either side and Holloway fighting a top-five Justin Gaethje would not be out of the ordinary, as the UFC typically tries to match fighters with similar rankings when changing weight classes. This fight would be a major risk for Gaejthe as he is putting his top-five ranking on the line, but it’s not like he and his team haven’t thought of this contest before.

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