The only man to go three rounds with Conor McGregor in the UFC, Max Holloway, has stated he does not believe that the Irishman was injured when they fought at UFC Fight Night 26,
Max Holloway has not been shy about letting people know that he is the only man to have made it to the end of a fight with Conor McGregor in the UFC without having to be woken up by the referee. However, the Irishman tore his ACL in the fight, leading him to employ his seldom seen ground game in the final round to secure the decision victory.
Speaking to Submission Radio after extending his winning streak to eight fights against Jeremy Stephens, the Hawaiian added his voice to the chorus of fighters looking for a title shot against the The Notorious One. He also articulated his frustration that people used his opponent’s supposed injury as an excuse for his not finishing their fight, and expressed doubts that it happened at all:
“He talked about his blown ACL or whatever, which I totally do not believe, because if you have a blown ACL you probably wouldn’t be able to walk, let alone fight”.
“So I was tripping out that people believed him, and people say that he was injured for the whole fight. He was only injured for the last round – he got hurt in the last ten seconds of the last round”.
“I hurt my ankle in the first thirty seconds of that first round, and that really did mess me up – I couldn’t move. I usually move out there, and if you watch the fight I hardly moved. I stand in front of him, I move straight back, I move straight forward, and that’s not what Max Holloway usually does. So it would be a way different fight from what it was”.
However, Holloway’s view seems to have evolved on this matter. Speaking to Ariel Helwani back in April, the featherweight challenger shared the version of events put forth by the Irishman, namely that he was in fact hurt in the closing seconds of the second round:
“I’d love to get that McGregor fight. Everybody was like, ‘oh, McGregor beat you with an ACL,’ that he destroyed me this and that. I was like cool, you know, because not a lot of people knew I was injured. I came out with it, people were like, ‘oh you know he’s making an excuse now, he comes out two years later’… and that’s because I didn’t want to cry about it. I’m not that person.
“But it just gets to a point where these guys keep saying, ‘you got annihilated, the guy had a blown ACL, blah blah,’ and it’s frustrating. A lot of people were like, ‘that was the best you,’ this and that and the other stuff, but McGregor got hurt at the end of the second round. He got hurt on the ground. So I was thinking, that’s my point exactly. Those guys say he’s going to knock me out the next time. He had two rounds to knock me out before he got injured. So where was it? I don’t see it.”
Whatever the facts of the matter, Holloway will have to wait some time before he has an opportunity to avenge his loss. The new champion seems set to contest the lightweight belt against Rafael dos Anjos next, with Aldo and Frankie Edgar both higher in the UFC featherweight division’s pecking order at present.