UFC featherweight champion, Max Holloway and the reigning lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov have been very close to fighting each other inside the octagon, but it has not been possible.
First, Max Holloway replaced Tony Ferguson to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov after Ferguson suffered an injury before the fight. However, due to a brutal weight cut, New York commission intervened and Holloway had to pull off from the fight.
Again in UFC 236, Max Holloway moved up a division to fight Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship. Though Holloway put a valiant effort, Poirier won the fight and went on to fight Nurmagomedov for the undisputed title. However, the fight between Dustin Poirier and Khabib Nurmagomedov was not very competitive to be fair. The lightweight champion dominated Poirier until getting the submission victory.
Max Holloway would have been the on fighting for the title against Khabib Nurmagomedov had he won the fight against Poirier. However, Holloway still wants the fight with Nurmagomdeov as he said in his recent interview with Luke Thomas. When asked about a potential fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov, Holloway said:
“For sure. I am not at any way any means looking over Alex, I don’t look over any of my opponents to be quite honest. But if you want to be the number one pound for pound guy that’s the guy. He is undefeated. He is one weight class higher than me. I can’t wait. That’s one of the fights that’s definitely gonna be. it’s coming, it’s gonna happen.”
Max Holloway is going to defend his featherweight title against Alexander Volkanovski in UFC 245 this December. Holloway respects the obligations he has for the 145 division as the champion, but he is ready to vacate the title to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov when the time comes. Holloway announced:
“I just got an obligation and I got a contract. I am the 145 champ. I don’t want everybody down here sitting here and waiting for me. At the end of the day when 55 happens, it happens then I will be returning the belt. But I hope Khabib is there when I am there. cause that’s a big fight. He is number one pound for pound fighter in the world. When I think about it that kind of fight excites me a lot.”
The fight between Max Holloway and Khabib Nurmagomedov is not completely off the table and this fight may make sense in future. However at the moment, Max Holloway has an interesting opponent, Alexander Volkanovski who is coming from a huge win against Jose Aldo and is on a 17 fight winning streak.