Everyone wants to ask serious questions about Max Holloway vs Khabib Nurmagomedov, but that won’t work. A ridiculous fight needs appropriately… creative questions.
Here are the things you weren’t wondering before, and probably wish you weren’t wondering now.
1. Will Max Holloway’s cojones keep him from making weight?
Hypertrophy (n.) – the enlargement of an organ or tissue from the increase in the size of its cells.
The most recognizable version of this is muscle hypertrophy. When you lift an increasing amount of weight for various reps, you’re forcing your muscles to work beyond what they’re used to. The body compensates by increasing their glycogen stores and fiber size which lead to that ‘swole’ look. This also true for the heart, which can hypertrophy in response to things like chronic high blood pressure.
We know that Max Holloway has big balls, but how big?
There is no doubt that taking on Khabib Nurmagomedov on a week’s notice is brave, but Holloway isn’t stupid. He understands that he’ll be giving up a 15lbs weight advantage to an undefeated terror. Even in a week, there’s no doubt his balls are working overtime to keep his bravado up. There’s a medically impossible possibility that they will gain mass to compensate.
How will that affect Holloway’s weight? Is there an allowance because of the short notice? Do they have his junk on a wheelbarrow off the scale so it doesn’t affect his weigh-in? What do they use as an athletic cup? Do they just weld two pasta strainers together?
2. Is this actually reality TV?
Long ago, Fabio Maldonado stepped in as a late replacement against Stipe Miocic. The pudgy Brazilian was a banger and a fan-favorite, but there was a huge problem; he was a light heavyweight. Stipe, as we now know, is the best heavyweight in the history of the sport. Maldonado is notorious for absorbing nasty punishment, and stepping up a weight class to do it seemed downright dangerous.
Max Holloway has never struggled to make the featherweight limit. Despite being 5’11”, his rail-thin frame is quite suited to the 145lbs limit. Conversely, Khabib has struggled mightily making the lightweight limit. Holloway’s stick-and-move style worked when he had a 3-4″ height advantage over everyone he faced, but Khabib is 5’10” with a longer reach. Watch the highlights of Khabib’s beatdown of Edson Barboza and you’ll see why this is a problem.
There’s only one explanation: this is a reboot of Punk’d.
Max will get beaten half to death before Ashton Kutcher pops out and surprises him that it was all a joke. For those of you outside the States, Kutcher is the long-haired fellow who replaced Charlie Sheen on Two and a Half Men. For those of you who haven’t watched Two and a Half Men, kudos. You live in a happier world it would seem.
3. So the best case scenario is that… Khabib loses?
Let’s pretend that you have an undefeated star grappler. Let’s also pretend that he has made the best fighters in the world’s most talented division look positively amateur. After difficulties with cutting weight and injuries, he’s finally gotten his title shot. Do you:
a) Exploit his friendship and resemblance with/to a bear (respectively) along with his skill to build a bankable star
b) Hope he loses
If Khabib wins, Ferguson can’t challenge for the title. That leaves a lightweight with ten wins over top-flight competition gathering dust. When Dana kept Junior Dos Santos away from the heavyweight title it made sense; Cain had already mopped the floor twice with him. But Ferguson’s issue is bad luck.
Plus there’s the elephant in the room: Conor McGregor.
If the UFC is a medieval church then Dana is the demagogue at its head, loudly insisting that the world revolves around Conor McGregor. Somewhere, Galileo is screaming at the walls while church officials burn evidence that other great lightweights exist. Tony could make Conor look bad, but Khabib would make him look terrible.
So what, he’s hoping that the undefeated star will lose a fight he’s heavily favored to win? And that Aldo gets yet another title shot against someone he probably can’t beat?