Max Holloway happy about Dustin Poirier rematch, but revenge never crossed his mind
The UFC called with the offer to fight Poirier (24-5 MMA, 16-4 UFC) in the UFC 236 headliner, and Holloway (20-3 MMA, 16-3 UFC) readily accepted the challenge. It was as easy as that.
It doesn’t mean Holloway, the current UFC featherweight champion, is abandoning his division, though. He said he can still make the 145-pound limit to defend his belt, but he doesn’t think the UFC considered any of the existing contenders ready for a shot. That’s why they came to him with Poirier.
“I’m the king in the division, but when you leave people are going to try to take the throne,” Holloway told reporters, including MMA Junkie, on Wednesday at UFC 236 open workouts. “At the end of the day, the UFC sends me a ’55 contract. If they send me a ’45 contract I would’ve been here at ’45. They sent me a ’55 contract. We’ve got the guys like Alex (Volkanovski), Renato (Moicano), Zabit (Magomedsharipov), and Dana White and the UFC, they know that. But if it was them they would’ve sent it. I think right now the UFC and them wanted to let them bake. They put them in the oven and let them bake a little bit longer.
“I think most of them only got one in the top 10, the top five or whatever it is. That’s it. If it’s ’45 after this, it’s ’45. If it’s ’55, it’s ’55. If it’s 170, 185, 205, my man Daniel (Cormier), ‘DC,’ I know you got that No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. If you want it, you can come get it.”
The fight between Holloway and Poirier marks a rematch of the only stoppage loss of Holloway’s career, and his first defeat, as well. He was submitted in the first round at UFC 143 in February 2012, but since then “Blessed” has evolved into one of the top pound-for-pound fighters.
Holloway said earning revenge on Poirier is never something that really crossed his mind. However, when the opportunity came, he was happy to run it back and show how much he’s evolved.
“If it happened, it happened,” Holloway said. “If we cross paths, we cross paths. I didn’t spend too much time thinking about it. People dwell on the past and say, ‘You got to get this one back.’ I don’t care. I don’t care if I got it back. But our paths cross. OK, cool. We get to do this again, we get to run it back.
“It’s a long time ago. Max that you guys are looking at today would’ve bodied 20-year-old Max. I would’ve put him in a cemetery right down the road from my street and visited him every day on the weekends. Now we here with Dustin.”
Holloway said he doesn’t know what’s going to come after UFC 236, but he will be ready for every possibility. He said he feels comfortable at lightweight, though, and expects that to translate in the octagon.
“I feel great,” Holloway said. “The energy is great, training was great, we going to find out. We get to find out Saturday. Performance going to be great.”