Last Saturday, Max Holloway turned in what is already likely to be crowned as the Performance of the Year for 2021 when he dominated Calvin Kattar for five rounds at UFC Fight Island 7.
The 29-year-old shined in his first non-title fight since 2016, claiming a decisive unanimous decision win (50-42, 50-43, 50-43) against Kattar while managing to break his own UFC records for significant strikes landed in a fight (445) and significant strikes attempted (744).
Holloway’s performance caught the attention of all fans, media, and fighters, including Conor McGregor who commented on Holloway’s victory in multiple interviews this week.
“I thought it was a solid performance,” McGregor told Oscar Willis from The Mac Life. “He fought an up-and-comer — he done well. I was actually doing an interview then and he skateboarded by the window. I was like, ‘Is that Max Holloway?’ So, he’s obviously hanging around, and fair play to him, more power to him.
“He’s definitely in the pipeline for a bout against me, for sure. I would happily rematch Max, and after a performance like that, he’s put himself right up there.”
With McGregor returning to action this weekend to face Dustin Poirier at UFC 257 on ESPN+, McGregor’s comments raise the question of how would a McGregor vs. Holloway rematch go?
Here’s how the team at The Body Lock responded to that question:
Drake Riggs: “I’m under the impression that Max would win the rematch. I’ve felt that way a little bit since maybe his second title defense or somewhere in the mid-point of his title reign. He looked incredible then and we saw what he did to Calvin Kattar. Max Holloway is still improving and he’s only 29-years-old. It’s very scary to think about he might not even be his best self yet, and his current self is still good enough to beat damn near everybody, and he probably beats everybody who is not a champion right now.
“Stylistically, I feel like Max has become, and is going to be a nightmare for Conor.”
Matthew Wells: “Conor has proven that when it comes to using his range, and his size and power, even, it’s just better than Max right now. Max could not get Calvin Kattar out of there, even with some hard elbows.
“I was thinking if Conor was throwing those shots, would Kattar still be standing? I don’t think so. Of course, Conor is not cutting down to 145 any time soon, but if everything else was the same, I think Conor would have been able to get him out of there. And I think that would be the difference in a rematch.
“Yes, Max is so much better in all aspects of his game: speed, his counter game, his boxing, even his beautiful spin kicks he was throwing against Kattar were on point, he did not miss. He’s just all-around a better fighter than when they first fought, but Conor has also got a lot better, too.”
“I would argue that Poirier outboxed Holloway. He had cleaner striking in a lot of ways and he outboxed Poirier. I think McGregor might have better boxing than both of them. We don’t know for sure because we haven’t seen him fight since 2018 and then against Cerrone that was so quick we can’t really say where he was at that point.
“But in 2018 he fought Nurmagomedov and he lost against a wrestler. He did win a round against Khabib but it was much more about avoiding takedowns and stopping the takedown. He was off his game there.
“In 2016, he put on a ridiculous performance against Eddie Alvarez. Just outboxed him on the feet. For whatever reason Alvarez didn’t really go for takedowns until late and tried to box Conor and Conor just toyed with him. This matchup on Saturday between McGregor and Poirier is really going to show where McGregor is at.
UFC 257 streams live this Saturday, January 23, on the
Jake Nichols is The Body Lock's Editor in Chief. Previously, he was the MMA Editor at RealSport.