What’s next for Max Holloway and Dustin Poirier after impressive showings at UFC 199?
RICH HANSEN, MMATORCH COLUMNIST
Two different questions, two different answers:
Nothing has changed for Max Holloway. He was in limbo a week ago, he’ll be in limbo a week from now. There’s no one above him left to fight other than McGregor, Aldo, Edgar, and Mendes. He’s beaten damn near everyone in the rankings beneath him, and everyone above him is either tied up or a broken shell of themselves on a two fight losing streak that would make a Holloway victory over him as useful as a bucket of air. Holloway has to hope that after McGregor fights Nate Diaz (Assuming that fight even happens, I have my doubts) that McGregor vacates the title, giving Holloway an open path to fight Jose Aldo for the Featherweight Championship.
As to Dustin Poirier, this is the most underrated fighter in the company right now. Poirier should be on the fringe of the top five, and I would argue that his next fight should be against Khabib Nurmagomedov or Donald Cerrone (if he’s done gallivanting around Essos’ Welterweight division). Most likely he’s going to get another cakewalk against another paper tiger who’s about as fragile as the housing market in 2008. Looking at you, Mr. Dariush. There’s no reason to not push Poirier to the moon.
FRANK HYDEN, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Holloway is in a bad spot because he’ll probably have to fight again even though he’s deserving of a title shot now. That’s because Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar are fighting for the Interim UFC Featherweight Title at UFC 200 whereas UFC Featherweight Champion Conor McGregor is fighting Nate Diaz at UFC 202. I would imagine the UFC would want to unify those titles by having McGregor fight the Aldo-Edgar winner next. I suppose that they could have the Aldo-Edgar winner fight Holloway next, with the winner of that fighting McGregor to unify the belts, but that might require McGregor sitting out a few more months after the Diaz fight and he might not want to do that. So I think Holloway will have to fight one more time before getting his title shot.
As for Poirier, I think he deserves at least a guy in the top seven and probably in the top five. He deserves a chance to show what he’s capable of against a high-ranking opponent. He’s moving up the rankings and needs an opponent ranked higher than him.
BRAD WALKER, MMATORCH CONTRIBUTOR
Poirier is a middle of the pack guy and that’s not going to change, Holloway is a killer and needs to be dropped into the title picture. This is going to be fun going forward for both guys but I’m not sure where their respective paths lead. One way or another they’re both fighters we desire to watch and enjoy their fights.
JAMIE PENICK, MMATORCH EDITOR-IN-CHIEF
Holloway’s UFC debut came on short notice against Poirier back in 2012, and you couldn’t have guessed from that fight that he’d work his way to where he is in 2016. Then just 20 years old, Holloway was beaten badly, but it was also just his fifth career fight. He has improved exponentially in the ensuing four and a half years, getting better and much more effective in every aspect of his game, and that was on full display in a wholly complete performance against Ricardo Lamas last weekend.
Were it not for the fact that Conor McGregor has decided to pursue other challenges, Holloway might be a bit closer to a title fight. Then again, perhaps not, because McGregor may have had a few fights coming before Holloway anyway. The 24-year-old is right on the cusp of contention, and it’s now just a matter of continuing to win while hoping that timing can start to work out in his favor. He may simply need one more win sometime this fall to get his shot in early 2017, and it all comes down to what McGregor decides to do after his UFC 202 rematch with Nate Diaz.
As for Poirier, he just needs an opportunity. He needs a fight with a top end competitor to prove he belongs in the conversation for an eventual title fight, because he’s been beating fighters he’s simply better than. It’s been an extremely fun run to watch for the 27-year-old vet since he moved back up to lightweight, and he’s found a renewed sense of purpose at 155 lbs. Now he just needs a chance to prove he belongs in there with the elite in what is one of the toughest divisions in the sport. Based on what we’ve seen so far, he probably will, and it’s on the UFC to give him a top ten opponent next.
[Photo (c) Gary A. Vasquez via USA Today Sports]
Attention iPhone/iPad and Android users, if you’ve enjoyed our app in the past and followed us there, or if you’ve never checked it out, make sure to update to the latest version in the Apple store and/or Google Play store. We’ve launched a new look for the app, in line with our recent desktop overhaul. Make sure to check it out!
For current App users, swipe right to view next article, swipe left to view previous article.