Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway was the big winner of the weekend, taking a decision over Yair Rodriguez in a thrilling main event atop UFC Vegas 42. The bout, which many say rivals Justin Gaethje vs. Michael Chandler for Fight of the Year was just the latest contest for Holloway to feature scintillating striking and countless haymakers finding their mark.
One man who has more experience with Holloway than most is featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski, who beat Holloway for the title in 2019 and then beat him again to defend the belt the following year. Both of those fights were won by decision.
When speaking with Ariel Helwani on The MMA Hour Volkanovski lauded Holloway’s victory, but pondering aloud if the Hawaiian can last much longer in the sport while utilizing his exciting style.
“Man, Max eats a lot of shots,” he said (ht MMA Fighting). “He’s a volume striker, but he’s happy to eat one to give a couple. But, I mean, how long can that last?
“I’m telling you, that chin’s going to go soon. It is going to go soon. You cannot cop that much damage. Yeah, they’re talking about 3000 strikes he’s [landed], which is incredible. Clap for that. But he’s probably in the 1000s or 2000s of absorption as well. There you go, that’s not healthy. And Conor [McGregor] touched on that actually. Conor makes a good point. You talk about being a boxer — it’s hit and not get hit. That’s what makes the best boxer. So, you look at the numbers he’s hitting a lot of numbers, but let’s look at other numbers. Let’s look at ratios. Let’s look at how many strikes they’re landing to not landing.
“It doesn’t get more impressive than mine, I don’t think. I think mine would be right up there. But again, you want to talk numbers, let’s talk real numbers.”
Volkanovski has out struck everyone he’s been in the Octagon with, including Holloway. Since entering the promotion in 2017, the Australian has won all 10 of his UFC bouts. He earned his title shot with wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo.
Since defeating Holloway, twice, Volkanovski has coached The Ultimate Fighter and defended the belt against Brian Ortega.
With Holloway’s win over the weekend, many are wondering if a trilogy fight with him and Volkanovski is on the table. “We’ll what happens,” said Volkanovski when asked about that potential match-up.
Volkanovski suggested that, if he did face Holloway for a third time, he’d be eager to test ‘Blessed’’s chin—given the wars his rival has been in lately. Regardless if it’s against him, though, Volkanovski cautioned that he doesn’t think Holloway can go much longer in the cage if he continues to compete in all out brawls.
“At the end of the day, I’ll give it to Max, he’s a gamer. I’m sitting there trying to knock him but at the same time you’ve got to give him credit. It’s entertaining. Don’t get me wrong, watching that, it’s great to watch. But, at the same time, you can’t do that forever, and that that chin is going to go. Let’s see if it goes [in] the next one. I’m going to be looking for it.”