Floyd Mayweather vs. Conor McGregor is a reality. The megafight, like it or not, will take place Aug. 26 at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas under boxing rules, it was confirmed Wednesday by both sides.
Even before the inevitable news was broken, Max Holloway was very skeptical about McGregor’s future in the UFC. McGregor, the UFC lightweight champion and former featherweight champion, stands to make exponentially more money against Mayweather than he has made in any fight in the Octagon.
“That guy gets to choose whoever he wants to fight,” Holloway, the UFC’s new featherweight champ, told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. “This guy is not even talking about MMA, so I don’t even feel like we should even be talking about him. But at the end of the day, if you got paid $50 or $75 million would you come back to mixed martial arts after that? Exactly. It’s very tough. I have no idea why he would come back.”
Holloway, 25, now holds the belt McGregor once did. “Blessed” beat Jose Aldo by third-round TKO earlier this month at UFC 212 in Brazil. Holloway has fought McGregor, too, way back in 2013. It was actually Holloway’s last loss. He’s now won 11 in a row and established himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport.
Unlike McGregor, who left the featherweight division immediately after winning the title, Holloway plans on hanging around for a while. He wants to hold firm atop 145 and put a bunch of wins in a row together, perhaps even go after the record of 10 title defenses held by Anderson Silva and Demetrious Johnson.
“I’m not racing through my division,” Holloway said. “I’m cleaning it out. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: If I didn’t fight you, get ready. Get ready, because i’m coming. If I did fight you, get emotionally ready, because you know what’s gonna happen again.”
Holloway (18-3) said he’s not sure who he’ll face next. Frankie Edgar, the former lightweight champ and perennial featherweight contender, would make sense. Cub Swanson is not far off, either. But first the Hawaii native wants to sit down with UFC president Dana White and hammer out a new contract. He believes he has earned it after this dominant stretch of victories and said so immediately after beating Aldo in the Octagon.
“[White and I] sat down,” Holloway said, “and he told me: ‘This is big-game hunting, kid. This is big-game hunting. You bring in the big kills, you cash in the big pay checks.’ So he told me. So I was like, you know what? He’s listening. He’s probably watching the fight now. I don’t want to text him. I’ll just have a bunch of hundred media outlets texting him and everybody tweeting him.”
As of Monday, Holloway, his team and White have not sat down since the title fight. But he’s ready to do it and then fight again sometime in the fall. Holloway is ready to play his own version of King of the Mountain.
“I can’t wait,” Holloway said. “I just can’t wait. The division is under new management. We’re open 24/7, seven days a week. you can come, come see me, you’re gonna leave, you can leave with a smile, you can take that L with you. If you want to come back again, that’s gonna be two Ls for you. It’s gonna be a good time.”
Holloway would welcome a McGregor rematch. But he’s not holding his breath. It’s doubtful McGregor would drop back down to 145 when he still has not defended the 155-pound belt. And that’s if he even comes back to the UFC after Mayweather. White said McGregor told him that he’ll be back before the end of the year, but Holloway is skeptical.
“If they want to fight, they can fight, but at the end of the day we got other guys that’s in here, that’s in MMA, that’s talking about MMA and they’re talking about wanting to fight me,” Holloway said. “We’re gonna figure stuff out and take it one step at a time.”