Already the UFC’s featherweight champion, Max Holloway has a chance to make history and joining the “Champ Champ” club with a shot at the interim lightweight title on the line in a rematch with Dustin Poirier. The only other fighters to simultaneously hold two belts at once have been Conor McGregor, Amanda Nunes, and Daniel Cormier. (To order the PPV, go here.)
Holloway gets the chance to kill two birds with one stone in this fight as he also has the shot to avenge his first career (and UFC debut) loss to Dustin Poirier. After Poirier beat Holloway in the first matchup, the two figther’s career paths took vastly different routes. While Holloway would eventually rebound and win the featherweight title, Poirier struggled with his consistency and had to make the move up to lightweight before he experienced a sustained run of success.
With the historic achievement in his sights, all eyes are on Holloway to see if he can make MMA history and become only the fourth fighter in the company’s storied history to hold two belts at once.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Who Is Max Holloway’s Ex-Wife?
Max Holloway married Kaimana Pa’aluhi in 2012, however, the two split up shortly after tying the knot on Valentine’s Day. Pa’aluhi is a former child actress and model and the two have a son together, six-year-old Rush Holloway.
Rush has recently taken the UFC world by storm during his father’s events. Known for putting on a show for the camera crew, Rush is never one to shy away from the spotlight. Most recently, cameras caught Rush breaking out some dance moves during his father’s open workout at UFC 231.
Most recently, Holloway has been rumored to be seeing Hawaiian supermodel Moani Hara. He even begrudgingly admitted as much to Ariel Helwani. Hara was a hula dancer along with the 2014 Miss Hawaii winner.
2. What Is Max Holloway’s Record
Max Holloway has a professional record of 20-3. After starting his UFC career off 3-3, Holloway has rattled off 13 consecutive wins en route to the featherweight title and a shot at the interim lightweight belt. With four performance of the night awards and two fight of the nights to his name during that stretch, Holloway has built a reputation as one of the UFC’s most exciting fighters.
Holloway’s last loss came in 2013 to Conor McGregor and he has since rattled off wins over some of the UFC’s biggest stars in Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens, Anthony Pettis, and Jose Aldo (twice). With a rematch against Dustin Poirier for a shot at the interim lightweight title on the line, Holloway gets yet another big name and impressive accolade to try and add to his list.
10 of Holloway’s 20 wins have come by KO or TKO with only two wins coming by submission. Though not necessarily a knockout artist, Holloway tends to do the majority of his damage on the feet and has shown the ability to stop opponents with a flurry of overwhelming punches.
UFC 236 airs April 13 on ESPN+. You can order it here.
3. How Tall is Max Holloway?
Max Holloway stands a towering 5’11”. At lightweight he should still have a significant size advantage over almost any fighter he faces, despite stepping up a weight class. With the average lightweight fighter standing around 5’9.5″, Holloway should still have over an inch and a half on the typical fighter he will see at his new weight.
That size is an even bigger factor at featherweight where the average height is even shorter at 5’8″. Holloway’s length and size have been instrumental in his success at the UFC level. However, despite possessing the sheer height to fight at welterweight, it is unlikely we ever see Holloway make a McGregor-esque leap up to 170 pounds given his style of fighting and wingspan.
Against Poirier, Holloway will have nearly two inches of height but is actually giving up nearly three inches on his reach. With a wingspan of 72 inches, Dustin Poirier is a suprisingly long fighter who has an incredibly strong wrestling background. Holloway will try to stop this fight from going to the ground and has to avoid getting wrapped up by the long and powerful limbs of Poirier.
4. Who Could Be Max Holloway’s Next Fight?
If Max Holloway beats Dustin Poirier, his next fight will most likely be a lightweight unification fight with suspended champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Although Poirier also holds the featherweight belt, he will likely wind up vacating that at some point in the future if he can find the same level of success at lightweight.
Nurmagomedov is one of the UFC’s biggest stars after dominating superstar Conor McGregor. More importantly, Nurmagomedov provides a considerably bigger draw than any of the other remaining names at featherweight. Holloway has already beaten the top two contenders at featherweight and as a result, it would make sense to give the rest of the division another fight or two in order to help build a stronger narrative around a future featherweight challenger.
Should Holloway lose to Poirier, he will most likely head back down to defend his belt against a (likely unworthy) challenger at featherweight. Zabit Magomedsharipov is a name to keep an eye on after beating Jeremy Stephens. Currently the UFC’s sixth ranked lightweight, if Magomedsharipov can pick up another solid win, he would almost certainly be in line for a shot at the belt.
5. What Happened In Max Holloway vs. Dustin Poirier 1?
Max Holloway lost by a triangle armbar submission in his first fight with Dustin Poirier. The fight was Holloway’s first UFC event and he was just 20 years old. While Poirier wasn’t much older at 24, by that point he had already had three UFC and two WEC fights under his belt.
However, despite the vast experience gap, Holloway came out of the gates looking like the much stronger fighter on the feet and started landed some respectable shots on Poirier. Especially as a 20 year old rookie prospect going up against a respected veteran fighter, Holloway turned some heads early in the first round.
Unfortunately, that would be as good as things got for Holloway. After getting a little too reckless and attempting a flying knee, Poirier attempted his first takedown. While Holloway was able to sprawl and avoid the ground wizard, Poirier smelled blood and pressured Holloway up against the cage. From there, Poirier would pick up Holloway and slam him to the canvas.
On the mat with one of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu practioners in the sport, Holloway was simply undermatched and after trying to kick out and scramble away, found Poirier wrapping him up in a mean arm triangle. Poirier would pick up the first round submission win and give the future champion a tough introduction to the UFC.
UFC 236 airs April 13 on ESPN+. You can order it here.