After more than a year away from the Octagon, Max "Blessed" Holloway reminded fans of his supreme talent with a fourth-round TKO win over Brian Ortega to retain his UFC featherweight championship Saturday in Toronto at UFC 231.
Holloway slugged his way to a doctor's stoppage in the fourth round after a back-and-forth instant classic.
This gives Holloway an incredible 13-fight win streak. His last loss came five years ago at the hands of Conor McGregor, and he's successfully defended the belt twice.
In a division of superstar champions such as McGregor and Jose Aldo, Holloway is already making a great case to have his name etched in its history. The Hawaiian hasn't had the best 2018, and to come back and win against an opponent of Ortega's caliber is quite the story.
Holloway was supposed to fight Ortega at UFC 226, but concussion-like symptoms knocked him out of that fight. Before that, Holloway exemplified an "anytime, anywhere" mentality when he offered to fight on late notice against now-lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov.
That fight, too, was scrapped because the weight cut would be too great, thus leaving Holloway without a matchup again.
A matchup against The Eagle isn't out of the question, though. As Hollway shifts his sights to moving up the pound-for-pound rankings, he's keeping his options open.
Holloway said, per MMA Fighting:
"At the end of the day, we'll find out. We've got nothing but time, too. I know they've got to figure out their stuff going on [with the Nevada Athletic Commission], so we'll see what happens. I've got Brian Ortega first. That's definitely, the two of them are definitely the guys that would be cool [to fight] and everybody keeps talking about, so we'll see what happens. I'm a fighter, I'll fight whoever, and I'm a champion, I've been a champion, and I'm about to go out here and be a defending champion, and the next thing on my list is to be on the pound-for-pound list, that No. 1 pound-for-pound."
Those are the kind of bouts that Holloway will likely have to find and win to move up the pound-for-pound list. Back-to-back victories over Aldo and a win over a previously undefeated Ortega have made him the clear-cut best fighter in his division.
Even though he's only defended the belt twice, the champion is already looking like someone who has cleaned out his weight class.