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Max Holloway on Conor McGregor: ‘He’s human just like all of us’

Despite a rash of legal problems outside the Octagon, featherweight champion Max Holloway still sounds like he has a lot of respect for Conor McGregor.

UFC Press Conference Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

During Conor McGregor’s latest hiatus from MMA competition, much of the focus on the MMA superstar has turned away from his performances in the Octagon, and instead to a string of troubling legal issues.

Starting with his assault on a bus full of fighters with a dolly during a fightweek event for UFC 223 in 2018, McGregor has been charged with robbery – for the destruction of a cell phone at a Miami hotel (the case was settled out of court, and charges dropped) – and plead guilty to assaulting a man in a Dublin pub over the man’s refusal to drink Conor’s ‘Proper 12’ whiskey. Most troublingly, however, McGregor has also been linked to two separate sex assault cases—as well as reports that he and his entourage abducted a bottle girl from an LA nightclub (the club has since banned the SBG Ireland fighter).

Even despite investigations for both sex assault allegations still hanging over him, the UFC has decided to go ahead with McGregor’s return to fighting. He’s been booked for a bout against Donald Cerrone, at UFC 246, on January 18th. And through all the numerous controversies and charges surrounding him, at least one notable UFC fighter is still strong in his support for ‘The Notorious’ Irishman.

In a recent interview with MMA Fighting, featherweight champion Max Holloway explained why he still has “respect” for Conor McGregor.

“The way he talks is business, and business is business,” Holloway said, speaking of the trash talk they’ve exchanged. “I understand that point of business with someone. There might be a point where you cross a line where it’s not business anymore and it gets personal but he never did that. He never crossed that line. That’s what I respect about him.

“We do jab back and forth but it’s just business. We’re not taking any real jabs at anything real crazy. We didn’t cross that line.”

Holloway added that McGregor’s support of him, when Holloway was forced to withdraw from UFC 223’s short notice bout against Khabib Nurmagomedov – and from UFC 226 against Brian Ortega – both showed him that McGregor “has a heart.”

“He’s human just like all of us. He had some bad, unfortunate events happen,” Holloway said. “He was just doing the wrong stuff at the wrong time, and it sucks, but dude is human. That’s just it.”

Holloway is now set to defend his featherweight belt against Alexander Volkanovski, at UFC 245, on December 14th. The fight card is expected to be headlined by a welterweight title fight between Kamaru Usman and Colby Covington.