UFC 236 has a massive main event – with huge implications for the state of the 155-pound division.
Longtime featherweight titleholder Max Holloway will be moving up to chase gold in another class. While he will be keeping his 145-pound belt, despite rumors he had struggled with the weight cut in the past, his next fight offers a chance at legend status – and redemption.
Not only will Holloway have the chance to do what few people have ever done, and wear UFC gold in two weight classes, but he’ll have the chance to avenge one of his UFC losses that came early in his career.
The fight will headline UFC 236, adding an unbelievable blockbuster to a schedule that is already jammed pretty full. The UFC has plenty of events coming up, but adding a showdown like this never hurts. Poirier is coming off a win over the former lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez, winning the rematch after their first showdown was stopped because of an illegal knee.
Holloway is one of the few fighters in the UFC known to weaponize pace – his cardio and striking volume is hard to replicate or even imitate, as seen by his thorough dispatching of previously unbeaten contender Brian Ortega.
The creation of an interim title is something that makes many fans groan, but it was necessary given the current state of things. Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is still suspended as a result of inciting the UFC 229 post-headliner brawl. Declining an offer to participate in an anti-bullying ad to have his suspension reduced, Nurmagomedov is expected to return sometime later this year.
And while a fight between a deserving contender like Poirier and a defending champion like Holloway is a treat for fans, reports say there was another, equally enticing scrap schedule before this one. Originally, Holloway was offered a fight with former interim lightweight champ Tony Ferguson.
Ferguson had reportedly turned down the fight, as it seems he’s still recovering from his recent surgery and victory over Anthony Pettis. And while the fight has been canceled four times, Ferguson vs. Nurmagomedov is a fight that the division has needed for a while. Maybe the man known as “El Cucuy” is simply holding off on a fight until the champ returns.
Or there is a possibility Ferguson has been offered another fight. Either way, fans will probably find out more about his decision to turn down Holloway in the coming weeks. As of now, however, fans are still looking forward to one of the most exciting lightweight scraps in a while and the crowning of a new interim champion.
If Holloway wins, it sets up plenty of interesting fights for him in the new division. He was once set to face Nurmagomedov as a short-notice stand-in and also has a loss to Conor McGregor he’d undoubtedly like to avenge. There’s a lot of work for “Blessed” at 155-pounds, and he’s starting off as best as anyone could hope to, jumping right into the title picture.