It’s rare for a fighter to win a third chance against an opponent after two previous losses, but Max Holloway is not just anyone.
The former featherweight champion enlisted in a possible fight contender of the year against Yair Rodriguez in the main event of UFC Vegas 42 to claim his second consecutive victory since his failure in his rematch against Alexander Volkanovski last year.
While the record shows Holloway is currently 0-2 in his streak with Volkanovski, UFC president Dana White struggles to see another option after the kind of performance the 29-year-old has achieved with his last victory on Saturday.
“It’s one of those things,” White said of Holloway securing another title at the UFC Vegas 42 post-fight press conference. “They’re ultra-thin. [decisions], and he just came in and did a performance like this.
“He’s a guy that Volkanovski is going to just have to put aside and start over. “
Having already played 10 rounds with Holloway, Volkanovski has secured two wins, but he’s still stuck struggling with the perception that he got a giveaway decision in the rematch in his first title defense.
Considering Holloway’s win over Rodriguez, combined with his victory over Calvin Kattar earlier this year, it’s hard to imagine he won’t win a third fight with Volkanovski at some point in 2022.
For his part, White was blown away by Holloway’s performance while praising Rodriguez for a job well done, especially after competing for the first time in two years.
“It’s one of the best fights I’ve ever seen,” White said. “The fact that Yair has been away for two years and comes in and does a performance like this, never seen before. It’s incredible.
“Then Max, I didn’t think he was going to come out of the second round with the calf kicks, then he moved on to the next round, I think he probably won’t be able to get out of the octagon by him- same. He walks around there like nothing has happened. He said his leg was fine. It’s amazing how tough this guy is.
Holloway was never one to call out to anyone, although he did briefly mention Volkanovsky as a possible opponent in his post-fight speech.
Another name Holloway talked about frequently during fight week was former UFC two-division champion Conor McGregor after going back and forth in a series of social media exchanges. McGregor even took a few shots at Holloway ahead of Saturday’s main event, which only sparked interest in a possible rematch after the Irish superstar won his first decision fight in 2013. .
As much as Holloway might want to silence the still outspoken McGregor, White was quick to end talks about this potential rematch, at least for now.
“I don’t know what’s next for Max,” White said. “It makes sense to see him and Volkanovsky again, but we’ll figure that out. Conor is not even [ready to fight]. Conor is still injured. Even talking about Conor is silly.