After rebounding from back-to-back narrow losses to the reigning 145-pound king with a pair of memorable five-round victories over Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodriguez in 2021, Holloway has cemented his position one step below top spot and secured a third crack at adding the opening blemish to Volkanovski’s promotional record.
“Blessed” will have the chance for redemption this Saturday at UFC 276, where he and Alexander “The Great” will feature in the co-main event of the International Fight Week pay-per-view.
Having established himself as a legitimate contender in the featherweight GOAT race with two wins against Holloway, and further defenses against Brian Ortega and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, Volkanovski has made his ambitions clear: champ-champ status.
After previously announcing his intentions to win lightweight gold in 2020, the Australian increased his calls for a shot at 155-pound glory following his win against Ortega last September. In recent times, UFC President Dana White has even expressed his approval for the idea of Volkanovski receiving an immediate title shot at the higher weight.
But even if Volkanovski is unable to add a fourth featherweight defense to his impressive résumé this Saturday, it seems that the ball for a FW champ vs. LW champ superfight will continue to roll.
During a recent interview with ESPN MMA’s Brett Okamoto, Holloway assessed the incredible career resurgence of Charles Oliveira, who held the lightweight gold until a weight miss last month.
Prior to the Brazilian’s active 11-fight win streak, he suffered a loss to Holloway in a 2015 main event. The defeat came after Oliveira suffered a micro-tear in his esophagus and was rendered unable to continue.
Should both men regain their titles in the coming months, “Blessed” said he is down to run it back with “Do Bronx.”
“The dude’s in demon mode right now… We’ll see what happens with that one. He and I know we had unfinished business since like, forever,” Holloway said. “So, we’ll see what happens. It’d be an honor to share the Octagon with him again. Alex is on the other side talking about it, so if we get it done July 2, who knows? Dana White is saying stuff like, ‘Alex can get whatever he wants.’ So, we’ll find out July 2 what Max wants and gets.”
Having defeated top contenders Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje in recent times, it’s clear that Oliveira has leveled up as a fighter. With that, he is even beginning to be discussed in the same conversations as the legendary Khabib Nurmagomedov in terms of lightweight legacy.
Should the Brazilian win back the belt later this year, which he’ll likely have to go through Islam Makhachev to do, perhaps his next challenge will come from below, and from a familiar featherweight foe.
How do you think a rematch between Max Holloway and Charles Oliveira would play out?