In an interview with Helwani, Holloway says if a rematch against McGregor fails to materialize, the he blame should not be pinned on him.
When a bully pulls your hair, you punch him in the face. You know, it’s funny. The guy’s funny, I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m on his mind apparently…I’m trying to think of our division and respect all the other fighters…It took me 10 fights to get the damn interim title shot and then 11 to get an undisputed shot. It’s my duty to make sure everything runs smoothly. I gotta respect our sport, my division and the guys that are fighting in it. That’s what I gotta do. At the end of the day, this guy is gonna keep yapping…
Tell [McGregor] I’ll be waiting. If that fight doesn’t happen it’s not on our side, it’s on his. Right now, I’m focused on champ life. When the exhibition fights come up and I have choices to make I can start calling out boxing guys and tell them, ‘come over to MMA, big shot.’ We’ll see what happens, but it’s just funny, you know? It’s funny. I’m quite surprised because every time they talk about this guy’s UFC career, one name doesn’t come up and that’s Max Holloway. It’s me. For him to bring me up is actually funny. It’s surprising, it’s hilarious and we’ll see what happens. He’s still retired in my eyes. When he comes back and wants to fight a real MMA fighter let me know.
McGregor tweets his response to Holloway wanting to fight him.
At the post-fight press conference after his win over Jose Aldo, Holloway targets McGregor:
I’m the champion of my division and I got to keep everything rolling. I got to keep everything going. I got to [get] thrown in the deep end. I’m not going to go on a hiatus. As long as I get contenders, I’m going to fight. If [the] UFC call me up for that reason, any reason to fight him [McGregor], I’d gladly fight him. If the Conor fight don’t happen, it’s not on my side, I’ll tell you guys right now. It’s on their team. Their team talks about me all the time. They tell me about how I’m the best guy in the world and blah-blah-blah and this and that, but now, really think about this. Right now Conor’s talking about fighting Paulie Malignaggi in MMA. Let that sink in. Paulie Malignaggi in MMA, I don’t know what to say.
Holloway speaks about his experiences facing both Aldo and McGregor, and says of the two Aldo is the hardest hitter.
We saw a bunch of things in José’s game that I thought I could take advantage of and that we did. His favourite tool to use are the leg-kick and the knee. After the first round I told my corner ‘he’s not that fast’ but his explosiveness is quick. He’s definitely the hardest hitter I’ve ever felt and his hands are huge.
After his win over the Brazilian fighter, Holloway praises Aldo on Instagram.
Losing is part of this fight game. Saturday night takes nothing away from his legacy. This is a guy who would show up to his gym sometimes without eating in the last day because he was so damn poor. This is a guy who built the 45 division and became king. This is a guy who found motivation to keep earning what he already had. He defended his throne. For a decade. For honor. For his team. For his countrymen. This is a guy who didn’t start at pole position in this world and look at what he achieved. Brazil needs to celebrate that man. Acai with powered milk and cashews for everyone. He’s a GOAT, and his story will always be an inspiration to me and people of Hawaii. Obrigado, [Jose Aldo] Obrigado.
Aldo releases a statement after his loss to Holloway, quoting Spanish philosopher Baltasar Gracián and re-affirming his intentions of fighting again.
“Be content to act, and leave the talking to others” – Baltasar Gracian. I only have to thank my ‘dad’ Andre Pederneiras, the best team in the world, Nova Uniao, because if it wasn’t for them I wouldn’t be the people’s champion, and (thank) all my trainers, who did a super well done job and got me ready, and all my fans who are always with me, here’s my love and my thank you. I’m speechless with all the love I’ve received until today, and every word you send to me. Thank you.
After his victory over Jose Aldo, Holloway says he’s not going to call out McGregor.
Like I said before, I’ll say it again. That guy was the 2015 champ. This is called the year 2017 right now and I’m the champ. If he wants to come back down, he can come and get it. But if not, it is what it is. He’s a guy who is always looking over the fence, always trying to look for the next great thing or whatever. Demetrious Johnson, he finds this motivation to keep defending. It takes a special human being to do that, and that’s me. I want to defend my throne. I want my fans to know and love me because I want to defend this. I want to show I’m the champ…Come try to take over my village — off with your head, that’s what I’m going to do. This guy is always trying to look for the bigger thing, and that’s him. Good for him. At the end of the day, I’m not going to chase him around. I’m not going to talk about someone who isn’t talking about me. He gets to choose his fights, why will I cry or beg him to fight me? Get the hell out of here with that shit. He should beg to fight me now.
In Rio de Janeiro, Holloway beats Aldo to become the undisputed featherweight world champion. Halfway through the third round Holloway puts Aldo on the mat and rains blows onto his opponent’s face. Jose is not able to get back up and after Hollway repeatedly hits the back of Aldo’s head the referee calls an end to the fight at 4m13s.
Dana White where’s my 50K? I want my check!
Coach Kavanagh says Holloway will have no trouble beating Aldo in the upcoming main event at UFC 212 to become the undisputed featherweight champion.
I’ve said it since Conor fought him: apart from Conor, Max Holloway is the second-best guy at 145 [pounds]. I think Holloway will win convincingly. There are a lot of similarities in both of their styles, in terms of being busy strikers who are used to guys trying to take them down. Max is maybe a little bit more dangerous when it comes to submissions. He’ll go for guillotines and stuff on takedowns, whereas Aldo is almost exclusively about defending the takedown. I think Max has grown a lot too. Even since Conor fought him he has improved. Aldo tends to do better against short, stocky wrestlers. He seems to have the perfect game for that. I don’t know if there’s somebody of that style who could possibly beat him. He’s almost perfect for that style. But here he is again, in against somebody he very rarely faces: a taller, striking-based opponent. We might see Aldo having to struggle and look for takedowns. I actually think that will be Aldo’s approach, that he’ll try to grapple. But I think Holloway will either defend them, make him uncomfortable with submission attempts, or else he’ll be able to keep it on the feet and win a decision. I think that’s how it’ll play out: Holloway by decision.
Holloways says McGregor’s time as UFC champion has passed.
Conor was the 2015 champion. We’re in the year 2017. It’s about defending your whatever. Conor’s just not that guy. That’s why the fans love him. He’s always looking for the bigger and better picture, and always looking over the fence…We’ll see what happens [between Mayweather and McGregor]. Mayweather is not just some common dude. He’s the best guy that ever done it. At the end of the day I’m not gonna knock Conor. Go for it. Do it man.
Holloway says fans should take time to thank the UFC lightweight champion for all he’s done for the sport.
Conor should be proud. He should be proud. Conor was the champ. He should hold his belt up high and proud. At the end of the day, he’s the 2015 champ…He talked about defending the [155-pound] belt more than the [145-pound] belt. It’s time to move on from this chapter of life already, guys. At the end of the day, we’re not going to tell Lebron [James], ‘Hey, Lebron, you can’t show your three rings, that was three years ago.’ No, be proud, you won it. But you’ve got to play again to to keep holding this championship, and [McGregor] is not doing that. And fair play to him…He’s not that type of guy. He’s just not that type of guy, he’s always looking over the fence. Or Looking for better stuff. We’re grateful for the fans he brung in, but at the end of the day, his fans love him for that – they’re always looking for the next big thing.
At a press conference for his upcoming fight against Holloway in UFC 212, Aldo says he is now willing to trash talk his opponents.
I think that this rivalry [with Holloway] is great because it sells more and gives us money. We’re going through a new generation now that is completely different than when I started in the sport. When I started, athletes fought for honor, respect, philosophy. Today, it’s not a real fighter. It’s this joke. If you don’t talk, you fight for nothing, you’ll be left behind…Rankings mean nothing, you have to talk trash. What drives this [sport] today is money, and that’s super normal to me now. I made a lot of money [against McGregor], and I’m thinking about it now. I think about continuing being champion and having my honor and respect, but it’s not worth being the good guy anymore.
Holloway says he wants to meet McGregor for a second time (he previously lost to McGregor in 2103) if he ever decides to return to 145-pounds one day.
The thing I always get hit with. Talking about this being a fake belt and the real champion beat both of these guys. I always say forget past tense, ask your boy how we match up now. His coaches believe I’m at the best at 145. His team believes I’m the best at 145. His fans know I’m the biggest threat to him at 145 or even in the whole UFC. So at the end of the day, I made no excuses. I’m not proud of the loss but get your facts your straight. Somebody got hurt in the first 30 seconds and somebody else got hurt in the last 30 seconds of the second round. I’m not trying to defend a loss. A loss is a loss but if you’re going to come and attack me, get your facts straight. Don’t show up to a gun fight with a knife.
Also vs Holloway will take place at UFC 212 on June 3 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Holloway says he is taking some time off to appear in Den of Thieves, a film about a group of bank robbers in Los Angeles on the run from the LAPD. It’ll be Holloway’s first movie role, and he’ll be playing one of the robbers.
I hope [the Aldo fight will happen], I hope so. You know, old boy’s taking so long that I had to take something else. I’m going to be shooting a movie now, so we’ll see what happens.
In response to McGregor’s comment, at RTE’s Sportsperson of the Year awards, that he destroyed his opponents
I’m still the two-weight world champion. Make no mistake about that. They can say what they want. They can try to get phoney belts and hand them out to people that I’ve already destroyed.
Accepted accepts Holloway’s challenge from the ring, where he called him ‘Waldo’:
He’s saying ‘where’s Aldo?’, you have to talk to the UFC. About the fight in February, I already knew that, I only didn’t know who I would fight. It was between him and Pettis, whoever won the fight. It’s not something new. This fight will happen on February. 11.
But now Holloway now appears not to be so sure:
It’s news to me. I guess we found where Waldo is so I’m glad. It’s time to see what happens. We’re going to talk to the UFC, see what UFC says or see if he’s just trying to [expletive] start some shit. Like I said, I’m not planning on giving up Christmas and my son’s birthday for something that’s going to be booked and Feb. 11 comes up and we’re going to be [expletive] looking at where’s Jose Waldo. That guy is crazy. I just looked and it’s eight weeks out already. That’s why that motherf-cker wants to fight. He wants me to be all drained out from two training camps in a row but that shit ain’t going to happen.
After his win over Anthony Pettis, Holloway calls out McGregor,even though his next fight will be with Jose Aldo.
I ain’t over here begging for fights. If that guy wants to fight me, he can come fight me. Conor’s coach even said I’m the best 145’er in the world. I ain’t going to beg. We’ve got so [many] guys on their knees begging to fight him. If he wants to fight me, he can come see me. If he wants to fight the best, you come fight ‘Blessed’.
Holloway beats Pettis with a TKO in the interim featherweight title fight in the night’s main event at the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Holloway stopped Pettis at the 4:50 mark of the third round. Holloway:
We’re trying to fight (Jose) Aldo, so I thought I’d call him Waldo – Jose Waldo. Hashtag Jose Waldo, and tell him meet me in Brooklyn in February. Let’s get the real one!
Pettis says that Holloway is even less than a match for him than McGregor.
I see Max as a younger version of myself; raw, natural talent and he definitely wants it bad. But I got the skill set to beat the guy with the striking and I got the power and size on him. The only other striker he fought of my caliber is Conor McGregor, and you saw how that went down. I feel like I have way more tools than Conor McGregor. Conor McGregor has a big left hand and some decent kicks. I have submissions, wrestling, I have everything; I’m the complete package. Now I have the size, so it’s a great weight class for me.
Holloway, who took McGregor to the distance in his second UFC fight, says ‘the real fans’ say he’s the real fight to make against McGregor.
Conor McGregor couldn’t finish me in a thousand years..and the hard core fans of the sport they know what the real fight is for Conor. It’s me, but first things first. He’s going to become a dad, so congrats for that. I got some business on December 10, with Anthony Pettis. I got to get through that guy first.
Despite his loss to McGregor in 2013, Holloway says he bears no grudge against the Irishman.
Everybody hates on this guy. For what? If you had this opportunity, you know damn straight that you’d take it. If I had the opportunity, yes, it’s history. I want to break history. Conor McGregor set this bar and I’m trying to break it. If you’re not trying to break it, then why are you in the game?…Conor’s special, you can’t hate on the guy. If everyone could do it, then everyone would be doing it. It took him, you don’t understand, you have to find your niche. I’m finding mine. I’m me. I have to be the real Max Holloway, this is the real guy sitting right in front of you guys. Real, honest, what you see is what you get. If you like it great, if you don’t like it, great, at the end of the day you buy the pay-per-view and I’m getting money and that’s it, thank you.
On The MMA Hour Helwani criticises the UFC’s handling of the removal of McGregor’s belt.
They botched it. They botched it epically. They botched it because if you’re going to go ahead and strip Conor, then Holloway /Pettis needs to be for the real belt, and you say to Jose Aldo that you’re getting the first crack at the champion of this interim title, you’ve been talking about retirement, you’ve been talking about not fighting again, you’ve been talking about throwing fights, we don’t know the state of your career is, so we’re making Holloway/Pettis the real championship fight, because we just stripped the biggest draw and the biggest star of his belt. It’s a disservice to Holloway and Pettis, who are going to have an amazing fight in a couple of weeks, it’s a disservice to Jose Aldo, and it’s a disservice to Conor McGregor.
Helwani reports that the UFC wants Pettis to fight Holloway for the interim 145 pound title in December in Toronto. This would be the main card fight after the Daniel Cornier-Anthony Johnson fight was cancelled due to injury. This means that the organisation will strip McGregor of his featherweight belt, reinstating it to Jose Aldo.