Max Holloway Has His Sights Set on Eventual Khabib Nurmagomedov Showdown

Max Holloway didn’t get his chance to hang the first loss on Khabib Nurmagomedov’s record at UFC 223, but that doesn’t mean he’s forgotten about facing the Russian wrecking machine down the road.

Holloway stepped up on six days notice to take on Nurmagomedov at UFC 223 after an injury forced former interim champion Tony Ferguson out of their bout with just days remaining until the event.

Unfortunately, Holloway was ultimately pulled from the card after the New York State Athletic Commission had concerns over his weight cut to get down to the 155-pound limit, so he never got the chance to face Nurmagomedov the next night.

Nurmagomedov ultimately defeated Al Iaquinta to become lightweight champion — a fight Holloway says he never even bothered to watch.

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Holloway is set to return to featherweight where he will defend his title against No. 1 contender Brian Ortega at UFC 226, but if everything goes well on July 7, don’t discount the possibility that the Hawaiian might start looking for that fight against Nurmagomedov again.

“It is what it is. I’ve got Brian Ortega next, another undefeated guy. If we take care of business then, I keep hearing him talking about how the UFC is giving him the opportunity to fight Khabib if everything goes good, so let’s run that one back,” Holloway told “UFC Tonight” recently.

“I’m going to take care of business July 7 and then Khabib time can meet ‘Blessed’ era for real this time since he was trying to make every excuse why I took the fight on six days notice.”

Holloway has long talked about venturing up to the lightweight division at some point in his career, especially considering the weight cut he endures to get down to 145 pounds.

Of course, Holloway will never shy away from challenges at featherweight, but he also likes the idea of testing himself against the best of the best that the lightweight division has to offer to him.

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“UFC, I’m just one call away. Six days, six months, whatever, I’ll be ready,” Holloway said. “I’m running out of cupcake flavors over here. Like I said, I like retrying them, but I want to try new flavors and there’s a lot of new flavors up there (at lightweight), so we’ll see what happens.

“When the call comes, the call comes.”