With 12 consecutive victories and back-to-back title fight victories over the legendary Jose Aldo, Max Holloway has established himself as a legitimate champion at 145 pounds, but the division has seen the emergence of a few new contenders over the last month.
26-year-old Brian Ortega scored an impressive stoppage victory over longtime veteran Cub Swanson at UFC Fight Night Fresno on Dec. 9, while extending his UFC winning streak to five. Josh Emmett, on the other hand, upset former title challenger Ricardo Lamas with a brutal first-round knockout victory at UFC Fight Night 26 on Dec. 16 in Winnipeg, Canada.
Speaking on Ortega and Emmett, Holloway admitted that he was ‘impressed’ by their performances:
“I was impressed by the two wins by those guys – of course,” Holloway told MMAjunkie. “Ortega finishes Cub – that’s impressive stuff. It’s always impressive when you finish someone. Finishing anybody in the top 10, even the top five when we’re talking about those two guys, is amazing. We’re the best fighters in the world and you get to finish them, that’s always cool to see.”
Both fighters certainly got themselves closer to a title shot with those victories, although it’s likely that Holloway will next defend his strap against former 155-pound champion Frankie Edgar. However, “Blessed” said that he wants a ‘taste’ of the new contenders:
“Me and Ortega are two young kids, so it should be fun whenever that happens,” Holloway said. “Josh Emmett came in and was able to shake it up real quick. I’m excited for the future. A lot of people are saying that one of those guys are going to give me a run. I can’t wait. I’m glad and I’m looking forward to the challenges. All these guys are cupcakes and there’s some new flavors, and I want my taste of them.”
Which contender do you expect to give Holloway the toughest challenge?