Alexander Volkanovski says Max Holloway is still a top contender, despite his losses to the reigning UFC featherweight champion.
Volkanovski and Holloway have fought three times in the past two and a half years, with the ‘Great’ defeating ‘Blessed’ in each appearance. The most recent one — UFC 276 — was the very definition of decisive, as Volkanovski ended their rivalry with a clean sweep of the judges’ scorecards (50-45 x3).
As decisive as the loss was, Volkanovski sees Holloway as a threat to the rest of the division, so his status as a contender remains intact in his eyes.
“I still think he was a great champ. I still think he’s a great fighter, and I still think he beats most of the top guys, anyway,” Volkanovski told John Hyon Ko of The AllStar. “We’ve got a very strong division, a lot of guys that are coming up. And obviously, through watching me fight and watching some of the top guys fight, everyone’s going to start evolving more and more and more. So I feel like you’re going to start seeing these other guys that are rising up, really start to get up there, anyway.
“But I still think Max — it wasn’t Max went down, it was just I literally had him figured out and I just went to another level, especially my confidence and things like that. I think that’s what it was more about. I think he makes a very hard fight for anyone in our division.”
Though Holloway has yet to announce a return to the Octagon, someone is interested in the former titleholder. Having lost out on the upcoming interim featherweight title fight, Arnold Allen says he vs. Holloway would be ‘a fun one’ for the UFC to schedule.
Before completing the trilogy with Volkanovski, Holloway was on a two-fight win streak that included decisions over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodríguez.