Max Holloway ‘hungry as ever’ ahead of meeting fiery up-and-comer Arnold Allen head-on in Kansas City


Former featherweight champion Max Holloway sat down with Sky Sports to discuss Saturday’s fight night clash in Kansas City with Arnold Allen, alongside his plans about a potential fourth title bout with Alexander Volkanovski.

Max Holloway 'hungry as ever' ahead of meeting fiery up-and-comer Arnold Allen head-on in Kansas City

Max Holloway acknowledges himself as one of the greatest fighters in the history of mixed martial arts. He was the first American to dominate the featherweight division, and in the last decade, has only been bested by one man. Since then, he hasn’t shied away from the adoration.

“I mean, it is what it is. Whatever people are going to say, people are going to say, it’s cool to hear. But I have a lot more work to do.

“I’m not going to tell someone to stop calling me that, but at the end of the day, I love it.”

Those endearments have stuck, despite Holloway’s trio of defeats to the current featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski – the first of which ended his reign at the top of the division in 2019.

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Max Holloway 'hungry as ever' ahead of meeting fiery up-and-comer Arnold Allen head-on in Kansas City

He was able to bounce back with an emphatic victory over Calvin Kattar two years later, recording a record 445 significant strikes against the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu specialist. Yair Rodriguez received similar treatment not soon after.

The 31-year-old has been quietly weighing up the rumours of a return to the octagon for one last dance with the current champion, Volkanovski.

“I see and hear murmurs on social media. ‘Is there going to be a fourth fight?’. I say, this is MMA. We’ve seen wilder stuff. If it’s a problem for anyone making that fight, the UFC would push our hand to go up to 155lbs, but they didn’t.”

It’s worth mentioning that the last time Holloway competed at 155lb, it was while he was holding the featherweight title. He moved up to face Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title and was dusted back to the 145lb division by Dustin.

“We’re here, and there’s a bunch of exciting fights for me here, one of them being Vo’ [Volkanovski] for a fourth time. He’s one of the greats, one of the best, and I want to fight the best. He’s got to be the best and the best is blessed.”

Can he confirm whether we will see a fourth clash between the pair?

“We’ll see what happens,” Holloway chuckles “First things first, we’re days away from stepping into the cage with someone who’s on a 10-fight win streak, and I can’t wait.”

The man he speaks of is Arnold Allen, who has only ever lost one fight all the way back in 2014 during his days on the regional MMA circuit.

“I know how he feels,” Holloway said “An opportunity this big, on a 10-fight win streak, and here it is for him. I’ve been there mentally and I’ve been there physically, so I’ve got to be focused. I know I’ve got a hungry line in front of me.”

Allen appears to be the pick of that bunch.

“I always know of people in the top 15. It’s cool to see him finishing fights and putting his name out of there, and I knew that we were going to run into each other at some point.”

The pair did exactly that when they bumped into each other while training in the same facility. Holloway was humoured by the situation, but there’ll be no smiles this weekend. Allen has already framed him as the ageing fighter, and it has not gone down well.

“We’re not even that far apart in age. He makes it sound like I’m 36 or 37. I’m 31, turning 32, and he’s 29.”

Max Holloway 'hungry as ever' ahead of meeting fiery up-and-comer Arnold Allen head-on in Kansas City

His coaches might feel differently about his perceptions of youth, especially where his knees are concerned. It wasn’t so long ago that he was “scolded” for his post-fight backflips.

“My coaches told me to stop doing it, they scolded me because I was landing right on my knees, and not on my feet.”

For someone who has absorbed nearly 1,000 strikes since December, and perhaps the cracks are starting to show, there’s no reason to risk things further, but Holloway remains adamant that his mentality will see him through this Saturday.

“At the end of the day, it’s not a problem for me. Some people overthink it too much, and I’m over it. There’s a new fight to focus on and I’m hungry as ever. I’m hungry every fight, and while the people in place might change, my mindset doesn’t.”


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