Everything seems to be coming together for Max Holloway.
The 23-year-old Hawaiian won his sixth straight fight at UFC on Fox 15 Saturday, taking out longtime featherweight contender Cub Swanson in surprisingly lopsided fashion. Holloway befuddled Swanson during exchanges in the first two rounds and picked up the pace in round three, when he had the Palm Springs, Calif., native reeling with a series of body shots.
From there, “Blessed” rocked his adversary with a couple straight lefts, which eventually allowed him to secure the fight-ending guillotine choke 3:58 into round three.
“I hit him with a left hand and I hurt him, but he didn't show it,” Holloway said. “I jumped on him and he had his head straight forward, so I got a couple good strikes in and got the guillotine. I want to be the best in the world, and if you're not here for that reason then you're just going through the motions.”
Holloway has come a long way from the 20-year-old fighter that was thrown into the fire against Dustin Poirier on short notice in his promotional debut. While he has demonstrated noticeable improvement from fight to fight during his current tear, the residue from his last loss -- a unanimous decision defeat at the hands of Conor McGregor -- continues to linger.
While McGregor handled Holloway relatively easily in their meeting at UFC Fight Night “Shogun vs. Sonnen” in August 2013, Holloway remains the only fighter to have gone the distance with the cocksure Irishman in the Octagon. It was later revealed that McGregor tore his ACL during the fight. Holloway doesn’t appreciate how the featherweight No. 1 contender seems to reference that fact each time their bout is mentioned.
“I want to beat the guys who beat me, and I want that win back over Conor McGregor,” Holloway said. “He keeps saying the only reason he didn't finish me is because he had a hurt knee. It’s disrespectful. So, let's test that. I’d love to fight him again, but I’ll fight anyone any time, any place.”
While a return date with McGregor might require a few more wins, Holloway has a pretty good idea of where he’d like to fight next, regardless of opponent. The talented featherweight spent a portion of Saturday’s post-fight press conference angling for an event in his home state.
“All I got to say is I’ve got a great team, we’ve got a great camp and we’re doing great things. So Dana White, come to Hawaii,” he said. “Bring one down to Hawaii. Let’s get one. You have like seven Hawaii fighters in the UFC. I want to fight one back home.”