Don’t start booking interim featherweight fights and talking of stripping reigning UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway just yet. The champion still very much looks to be a fighting champion in the division, in spite of moving up to fight Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship at UFC 236 next month:
“After that (Brian) Ortega fight I had to take some time personally and some business stuff, then they came to me with this fight in April,” Holloway said at the UFC 236 press conference (transcript via MMAjunkie). “Can’t let it slip through your fingers. At the end of the day, first things first, I got Dustin Poirier, and we’ll talk to the UFC after that. I don’t think Frankie (Edgar) or Jose (Aldo) deserve a champ that’s not willing to defend for a year. After this one I could go back down in the summer. That would be fun. But first thing’s first, April 13.”
Jose Aldo is on a two-fight winning streak and will next take on Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 237 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Frankie Edgar is currently unbooked and last competed last April with a victory over Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night: Barboza vs. Lee. Max Holloway last defended the featherweight championship at UFC 231 against Brian Ortega in an instant classic, where Holloway emerged the victor after a 4th round TKO.
As the featherweight division awaits the next title defense, new contenders are beginning to emerge, including Zabit Magomedsharipov who has recently cracked the top 10 and #4-ranked Alexander Volkanovski.
Do you believe Max Holloway will defend the featherweight championship this year?