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11th Jun 2017

Max Holloway isn’t trying to disrespect Conor McGregor, in fact, he’s doing the exact opposite

A lot of people took what he said the wrong way

Ben Kiely

Underselling Max Holloway’s amazing achievement would be insulting to both the featherweight champion and Conor McGregor.

Max Holloway’s the best featherweight in the world. Conor McGregor isn’t a featherweight. That’s the reality we’re living in right now.

It has been 18 months since McGregor last fought at 145 lbs and both he and the division have moved on since ‘the Notorious’ era.

After savagely beating featherweight great Jose Aldo to unify the championship at UFC 212, Holloway was asked the inevitable McGregor question. Some fans took issue with ‘Blessed’ stating that McGregor was the ‘2015 champ’ but what seemed to pass the detractors by was that his comments at the post-fight media luncheon were actually complimentary.

“Conor should be proud. Everybody talks, ‘he’s the champ blah blah blah.’  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. This is two years later already and he never ever once talked about defending the 145 belt ever. Not ever! He never once talked about it.”

Is he wrong?

Did Holloway say anything to the media in that spiel that wasn’t entirely truthful?

You might hear McGregor’s snappy sound bites from the UFC 205 media conference rattling around your head.

“I’m gonna wrap one around one shoulder, I’m gonna wrap the other around the other shoulder, and you’re gonna need a fucking army to come take them belts off me.”

Taking the featherweight championship off him didn’t require an army. He took it off himself, and that’s not a bad thing for someone who has lofty aspirations outside of his own discipline.

If McGregor really wanted to be the featherweight champion, he would have defended the belt. Instead, he moved up to claim the lightweight strap and now he has his sights set on a diamond-encrusted panty night against Floyd Mayweather. He’s taking the road less travelled, a trail he’s blazed all by himself.

Holloway was correct when he stated that it’s time to move on from the ‘Champion for Life’ mentality. Once McGregor was a featherweight champion, but that’s no longer the case. He’s got his own thing going on.

Holloway, on the other hand, has a belt to defend.