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LOS ANGELES — It’s a near-universal fact of professional combat sports life: When a fighter loses a fight, they want a chance to avenge their loss, no matter how much time passes and what else they might achieve in their career.
In the case Max Holloway, he took on Conor McGregor when the former UFC lightweight and featherweight champion was just beginning his meteoric rise.
Holloway (21-4 MMA, 17-4 UFC) substituted for Andy Ogle and fought McGregor on the first-ever UFC event on FOX Sports 1 in Boston in Aug. 2013, an undercard bout which was McGregor’s first appearance in the United States.
That night, a young Holloway hung tough, but lost a unanimous decision on scores of 30-27, 30-27, and 30-26.
And that’s the last time “Blessed” ever lost a featherweight fight. More than six years later, the Hawaii native is well-established with the 145-pound belt McGregor once held. He’s won 13 straight featherweight bouts going into his UFC 245 title defense against Alexander Volkanovski (20-1 MMA, 7-0 UFC).
McGregor, for his part, will fight for the first time in 15 months when he takes on Donald Cerrone in a welterweight bout in the main event of UFC 246 on January 18.
Which means the possibility of the duo once again crossing paths, even if it isn’t exactly probable, is once again back on Holloway’s radar.
Holloway says he’s open to a rematch — so long as McGregor is still committed to being one of the best in the sport.
“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway told reporters during a media event on Thursday. “If the ‘Mystic Mac’ arrives, if he wants to be what he was a couple years ago when he was he was the best mixed martial artist in the world and he wants to do it again, I’m sure we’re going to run into each other or something like that.”
If it turns out McGregor is simply chasing paydays and fights which interest him, rather than pursuing titles, then Holloway is good with that, too. McGregor and Holloway have by and large displayed a mutual respect in the years since they met in the octagon, and Holloway sees no reason why that would change.
“I respect that man a lot, and what he did for the sport, and he comes up short like anyone else you know?” Holloway said. “Just like anyone else. We’re all human, and we all make mistakes, and sometimes you gotta give someone else a chance. Me and him, I don’t know what it is, we respect each other on that level … I’m excited that he’s back in the sport and can’t wait for him to do his thing in January.”
Maybe a Holloway-McGregor rematch will happen, maybe it won’t. Either way, Holloway is glad to see his former foe back in action.
“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway said. “We’ll see if Conor comes. We’ll see if Mystic Mac is back and the way he’s training. But we get to see that fight. So I wish him a great training camp and you know, I can’t wait to see him go back in there.”
To hear more from Holloway on McGregor, watch the video above, and to hear his entire media day interview, click on the video below.
News | MMA Junkie