Though McGregor won the first meeting with Holloway fairly handily, Zahabi thinks that with the way the two have developed in the more than five years since, Holloway would likely defeat McGregor in a rematch.
“If I had to pick Max Holloway vs. Conor McGregor today, I would pick Max Holloway. Why? When they fought the first time, for those of you who don’t know, McGregor won an easy three rounds. McGregor outstruck Holloway in the first two rounds and in the third round he outgrappled Holloway. In the second or third round, McGregor tears his ACL, so he decides to go heavy grappling and he even shows that he can outgrapple Holloway,” Zahabi said in video on his Tristar Gym YouTube channel.
“That happened a long time ago. I think Holloway has grown leaps and bounds since then. In my opinion, Holloway would outpunch him, he would outwork him, he would do very much what [Nate] Diaz did, but more. I think McGregor got away with a lot of stuff, like the leg kicks, against Diaz. I don’t think he’ll have that against Holloway, but Holloway has the same kind of output as Diaz, the same kind of chin as Diaz, he’s more athletic than Diaz, he has more variety than Diaz in his attacks; he has more kicking, kneeing and elbowing, and his chin is phenomenal.”
In fact, Zahabi believes that Holloway is so much better now – he’s won 13 consecutive bouts since the loss to McGregor – that he would win most of the time if they fought on multiple occasions.
“I think the blueprint for beating McGregor is more well understood by the roster. I think if they fight at 145 or 155, I really like Max Holloway now. I just think that Max Holloway, if they fight ten times, six times out of the ten, let’s say even seven times out of the ten, I would say that Holloway wins.”
It wasn’t surprising at all that “The Notorious” would respond. McGregor isn’t exactly known for holding his tongue, although he avoided talking about Holloway and took direct aim at Zahabi, belittling the famed MMA coach.
“Hey Firas. Young man afraid to get in and fight, himself. Stop talking about me like you know me, you twerp. You are what age? Why are not in there yourself? Are you not up to it? You rent dorms and hit a clock for a living. Shut your pie, kid.”
Hey firaz. Young man afraid to get in and fight, himself. Stop talking about me like you know me, you twerp.
You are what age? Why are not in there yourself? Are you not up to it?
You rent dorms and hit a clock for a living.
Shut your pie, kid.
— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) January 9, 2019
Georges St-Pierre coach Firas Zahabi picks Max Holloway over Conor McGregor
(Courtesy of Tristar Gym)