Sean Shelby’s Shoes: What’s next for Usman, Volkanovski, Nunes after UFC 245?
Many UFC fans hope a trilogy fight between Alexander Volkanovksi and Max Holloway becomes a reality early in 2022. However, the current featherweight king says it would be in Holloway’s best financial interests to hold off on possibly taking a third straight loss from him.
Volkanovski (23-1) and Holloway (23-6) have proven time and again they are the two best featherweights in the promotion. It’s why a fight between the champion and the top-ranked fighter makes a lot of sense for the first quarter of 2022. However, the Aussie and Hawaiian have a long history that includes two championship bouts both won by “The Great.” Meaning a third fight is not necessarily a no-brainer.
Many fans of the former division king feel that Holloway is the uncrowned king after Volkanovski eeked out a split-decision victory in their July 2020 rematch. While supporters of the American see that as a reason to expect him to win the third fight, Volkanovski believes that bout was Holloway’s last best chance to beat him, and the chatter for another fight is just false hopes from a devoted fanbase.
Alexander Volkanovski compares Max Holloway’s current fan devotion to Conor McGregor’s
“He’s in a lucky position. Let’s be real. I’m not just gonna throw shade, but he’s in a position; like Conor McGregor’s in that position, where he keeps losing but there’s still people that want to throw his name out there [and] want to hype him up,” Volkanovski told The Allstar.
“Same thing with Max, even though he’s 0-2 with me, people are gonna say what they want and say that last [fight] was a close one. But at the end of the day, it’s 0-2, get over it. But they’ve still got his name in these conversations. I’ve said this time and again — I don’t want to get too much into it — but if there was ever a day I was gonna lose, that was the day. Our second fight.
Does going 0-3 to Volkanovski hurt Holloway’s legacy?
Holloway has made it known many times since the pair’s last fight, that he still covets another chance at winning back his title. However, before and after his recent win over Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42, Holloway suggested the idea of a big-money rematch with McGregor next. Instead of a third bout with Volkanovski. The champion says that is a smart move and that he should continue that train of thought because a third straight loss to him would destroy the brand value he has right now, and make even the most devoted supporter rethink the legacy of Holloway.
“If the UFC wants to do it again, [and] they told me they’re waiting on that early next year, alright let’s do it. But you go 0-3, in your prime — they’re trying to say he’s getting better and better — you go and lose again? Man, I don’t think these same people — that are gonna obviously have a biased opinion — they’re still giving him the benefit of the doubt, but at the end of the day you go 0-3, then that doesn’t look good. These guys that are diehard fans are gonna eventually come to the realization [he’s not the best],” he said.
“He’s lucky enough that he’s still getting another chance to even fight for the belt. And he’s in a position where people are still throwing his name out there and talking about his legacy,” Volkanovski continued. “But that changes if you lose again. And he wants to say he’s looking elsewhere and whatnot, that’s probably a smart decision. Go make them money fights now while you’re still a big name and while they’re still throwing your name in these big conversations. Because if you lose to me again — and he knows there’s a good chance that’s gonna happen — all that goes out the window. Not many people are gonna be talking about you as much.”
Do you hope to see Holloway vs Volkanovski III next, or think “Blessed” should battle “Notorious” instead?