As reigning UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway looks to challenge Dustin Poirier for an interim lightweight belt at UFC 236, the featherweight division seems to be at a standstill.
UFC featherweight Josh Emmett recently spoke with The Body Lock and explained that Holloway’s move to lightweight is not the source of the division’s gridlock.
“I don’t think it’s holding up the division at all. Max has beat everyone in the top and I’m sure he’ll come back down, but I don’t think it affects the division at all.”
“The division right now is held up because Aldo’s the true number one contender. They fought twice, and it went Holloway’s way both times. I don’t think they want to make a third fight between those guys.”
According to Emmett, the balance of the featherweight division hangs on the outcome of Jose Aldo vs. Alexander Volkanovski, set to take place on May 11. With a win, Volkanovski emerges as the true top contender in the division and will likely be next to challenge for Holloway’s title if he returns to defend it. Volkanovski is undefeated in the UFC so far, with a notable win against Chad Mendes in his last bout.
A win-win situation for Max Holloway
With the division frozen for the time being, Josh Emmett believes Max Holloway’s move to 155-pounds is a smart one.
“With Max moving up to 55 for the interim that’s a huge opportunity for him,” Emmett explained to John Hyon Ko.
“You can’t hate him for that… If I was in the same position, of course, I’d take it. It’s going to be a lot of money for him. It’s a win-win. If he wins that belt he gets to unify it with Khabib [Nurmagomedov] and that’s going to make him even more money. Say he were to lose the fight, it doesn’t matter; he’s a featherweight, he still keeps his title, and he’ll come back down and make more money.”
A fight that could go either way
As Max Holloway slides up to 155-pounds this weekend to challenge Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title, the bookmakers and majority of the public are clearly backing Holloway in the matchup.
Josh Emmett is less sure, however.
“He’s [Holloway] grown so much as a martial artist, and he’s definitely filled out. Poirier is a great fighter too. He’s developed so much.”
“Man, I don’t know, I could see it going either way, I feel like I could see either one of the guys [winning], I can make an argument why Max could win, I could make the argument why Poirier could win. It’s definitely a fight I’m looking forward to.”
View Josh Emmett’s full interview with John Hyon Ko below.
Ahmad Tahriri is a Contributing Writer at The Body Lock.