Max Holloway will take on Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title in four days, but the promotion is already setting its sights on his next outing.
With reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov likely to sit out for a year, the UFC decided to create an interim title, which will be up for grabs this Saturday in the UFC 236 main event.
It is the second interim title fight in the fight card as Kelvin Gastelum and Israel Adesanya are slated to square off for the interim middleweight strap.
“Blessed” has solidified his status as one of the greatest featherweights in UFC history. He announced his return to MMA last December with a massive victory over Brian Ortega after surviving major health scare in early 2018.
The Saturday main event would be the second interim title fight for Holloway, and if he will be able to seal the win, the UFC has a big plan for him and the reigning lightweight champ.
— SPORTS USA (@sportsusa_net) April 8, 2019
Khabib vs Holloway Being Targeted
The featherweight kingpin returned to actions last December, scoring an emphatic doctor stoppage victory over Brian Ortega at UFC 231.
It was the second successful title-defence for Holloway and his 13th straight win since losing to Conor McGregor in 2013.
This impressive streak includes victories over Jose Aldo (twice), Cub Swanson, Anthony Pettis, Jeremy Stephens, and many others.
He now holds the distinction as the fighter with the most significant strikes landed in UFC history with 1627, surpassing Michael Bisping’s record of 1,567 and Frankie Edgar’s 1,463.
He also delivered the most number of significant strikes in a single round in this bout at 134 in just the fourth round alone.
Holloway will move up to 155-pound this weekend in a bid to add another chip to his collection.
He will march as the (-240) favourite to win the main event, and if he does, he will book a date with Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title.
According to Ariel Helwani of ESPN, the UFC is already planning this move.
Ariel says if Holloway beats Poirier the plan would be to have him face Khabib in Abu Dhabi.#HelwaniShow
— Jed I. Goodman (@jedigoodman) April 8, 2019
Khabib has confirmed that he is set for a comeback this September while expressing interest on fighting the winner of the interim title bout.
The Russian champ also claimed that the unification bout would headline a pay-per-view event in Abu Dhabi.
For Holloway, being the next two-division champion is not mainly his goal.
Instead, he just wants to test his mettle against the toughest guy in the competition.
“The belt is the belt, you know?” said Holloway, per UFC.com.
“I’m not here to fight for belts. I’m here to fight the toughest guy. My son, Rush, doesn’t know how many belts I have.”
“I put them in the closet.”
“They can come out after I’m done fighting, but right now, we’re trying to focus on being the best fighter, and I told UFC – it’s as simple as this – I told UFC, ‘Send me the hardest fights,’ and this is what they did.”
Holloway will be a man on a mission at UFC 236.
He is seeking to keep his winning streak alive and is also looking to avenge his loss to Poirier in his UFC debut.
Getting a shot on the Khabib fight will be a huge bonus.
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov)