By: King Eddie
Like the typical quote from any cheesey comedy movie. . . "Here we go again". Max Holloway is lined up to fight yet another overwhelmingly hyped and favored fighter in his sixth fight under the UFC banner. But isn't that just the story of the Holloway fighting system? Fight as the underdog, win like a Champion. From the dawn of his career, and likely till the day he retires, even with height, Max is just so easily overlooked. But he appears to have come to terms with the status, and uses it to his advantage.
" On August 17, I'm willing to bet more people will be talking about Max Holloway than Conor McGregor."
We all know Max. Nearly 70% of the eyes that scan this article belong to people who know Holloway on a personal level. We've trained with him, watched him fight, broken bread with him, and in some cases even beefed with him. So there is no point in giving yet another origin story to a tale we are all secondary characters in. But sometimes, I feel that we just need to be reminded of a few things that set Max apart from other UFC fighters. . . He is still one of us. With 5 top level UFC fights under his belt already, Max is still a part of our tribe. True to his roots, he is a part of our MMA culture. He visits the same events, eats at the same Zippy's, and swims in the same water that we all do every day. Where some other fighters take their first UFC fight and then go on Ferrari tours of Vegas with Dana White, Max is not that type of man.
In the case of Holloway's next opponent, Conor McGregor, the same cannot be said. Rolling into the UFC with tons of hype and potential, McGregor steamrolled Marcus Brimmage in the first round of his Octagon debut. Shortly after, the previously described "Ferrari Tour" was given to the Irish fighter, with whispers of title contention following soon after. But what has McGregor really done to deserve such stature? Yes, he is the top prospect from his Island of Ireland, and yes he has made waves by competing in multiple weight divisions and claiming titles, but does that story remind you of anyone you know? Let's just do a little comparrison here. . .
Conor McGregor - Top Prospect from his island
Max Holloway - Top Prospect from his island
Connor McGregor - Only two defeats in his pro career
Max Holloway - Only two defeats in his pro career
Conor McGregor - Multiple Weight Division Champion
Max Holloway - Multiple Weight Division Champion
Conor McGregor - Striking Phenom
Max Holloway - Striking Phenom
Hmmmmmmm. . . . . I fail to see the staggering differences in the stats. Yes, McGregor has a longer list of fights under his belt, but when compared to Max's veteran status in the UFC, it kind of evens out, don't you think? I would say that fighting 5 times, in the top promotion in the world holds a little bit of water. And Holloway certainly has that. Neither man is prone to a boring fight, and neither man really enjoys to hear the final bell. So what is the absolute difference maker when it comes to this bout? The truth.
In truth, Max Holloway views this fight as an opportunity to better himself as a fighter, a UFC contender, and a man. Given recent comments to the media, Conor McGregor apparently views this fight as just one more hoop to jump through on his way to the title. And is that such a bad way for McGregor to view it? Certainly not. Could it spell his downfall? Absolutely, yes.
"I've been on this ride before. I know all of the twists and turns, ups and downs."
While Max has been toiling away in his lab. . . aka the mats at Gracie Technics, McGregor has been dreaming of Ferrari's and UFC titles. Though is philosophy on not putting opponents on pedestals is understandable, the truth is that it works both ways. McGregor himself, in Max's eyes, will be removed from any pedestal, and reduced to merely an obstacle.
It's safe to say that Max's last fight was a clear sign of highway robbery, but let's put that aside for just a moment. Let's view it in a different light. Every fighter in the UFC fears getting screwed on a decision. It haunts them. But Max has already gotten that out of the way. Most fighters fear being a bottom to top underdog by unheard of proportions. . Max has been that, on more than one occasion. Every other fighter in the UFC Featherweight Division feared McGregor, and therefore nobody stepped in to fight him when Andy Ogle went out with Staph. . . except one UFC fighter. . . Max "Blessed" Holloway. That's right. The same guy that celebrates his birthday at Podium Raceway. The same guy that you can see cornering his teammates at local events, or even just coming to watch. The same guy that only a few short years ago, his own local fans couldn't support no matter who his opponent. What makes those fights any different from this one? Outgunned and outmatched, Max Holloway considers his fight with Conor McGregor, just another day at the office because win or lose, there will be no Ferrari tours. There will be no fancy suit buying or talks of immediate title contention. . there will just be another notch under the belt of the young Hawaii fighter, who boards his plane back home where he lives his life like each and every one of us, but prepares to be a Champion.
Good luck to Max once more, as he prepares to make his way through the underdog tunnel, and into the warm light of victory at the end. May he always be overlooked, so we may basque in the feeling of believeing in him all along.