Friday, August 19, 2022

Holloway Responds To Khabib’s ‘Volkanovski Has More Fire’ Claim

Former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway has responded to Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s prediction for this weekend’s co-main event.

At Saturday’s UFC 276 pay-per-view, Holloway will look to add the first blemish to reigning 145-pound titleholder Alexander Volkanovski’s UFC record at the third time of trying. “Blessed” perhaps came the closest of anyone in the pair’s first two outings, particularly in their UFC 251 rematch in 2020, which many scored in favor of the Hawaiian.

Having cemented his spot as the second-placed man in the division in two bouts since, Holloway will have the chance for redemption in Las Vegas on July 2, while the Australian champ looks to dismiss him for a third time and put a conclusive stamp on their series.

Predictions have largely been split ahead of Saturday’s blockbuster event. But one man who leans on the side of Volkanovski is former UFC lightweight champion Khabib, who recently cited the Aussie’s “fire” as the reason he’ll edge past Holloway in the T-Mobile Arena.

“About Holloway-Volkanovski, I must say I’m really impressed with Volkanovski about his last couple of performances,” Khabib told the UFC. “I like Max Holloway. I like him. This is nothing personal, but I think Volkanovski’s going to defend his title. It’s a question: how? Who knows. But I see he (stays busier), fights all the time, experience – maybe experience. Like a little bit more fire. I feel he has a little bit more fire than Max Holloway.” (h/t MMA Junkie)

Having defeated Holloway twice, Volkanovski’s attention turned towards cementing his legacy, something he boosted by brushing past the challenges of Brian Ortega and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. With his desire to push for champ-champ status, it’s clear that Alexander “The Great” hasn’t lost any motivation since ascending the featherweight mountain.

But while his fire and hunger is clear, Holloway recently dismissed the idea that the same can’t be said for himself.

During an interview with Yahoo Sports’ Kevin Iole, Holloway was alerted to Khabib’s UFC 276 prediction. After suggesting that there’s little basis to the Dagestan’s claim, “Blessed” appeared to remind “The Eagle” that he is still entering the Octagon to compete, something that can’t be said for the retired 33-year-old.

“Not at all. I mean, he’s probably talking about Volkanovski having more fire ’cause like, he has a cooking show or something. Maybe the fire resemblance there,” Holloway joked. “But I don’t know, man, I don’t know. Khabib is Khabib. He’s gonna say what he’s gonna say, and I have no idea what he’s talking about.

“I’m here, I’m still doing it. So, I can’t wait. There’s a lot of people saying stuff, and we get to figure out if everything is true, if I still have the fire, come Saturday night,” Holloway concluded.

Holloway will look to put his “fire” on full display this weekend when he’ll target a return to the throne that he was unseated from back in 2019. And with Volkanovski beginning to build a strong claim to featherweight GOAT status, “Blessed” will no doubt hope to further stir the debate with a second reign.

Do you agree with Khabib? Does Alexander Volkanovski have “more fire” than Max Holloway?

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