After his showing this past weekend (Sat. December 8, 2018) at UFC 223, many are already putting UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in the GOAT dicussion.
Holloway successfully defended his 145-pound title against Brian Ortega in the main event. The Hawaiian was pretty dominant in the match-up, clearly the superior striker through the four rounds they shared the Octagon. Ortega refused to go down, but was battered pretty badly. In fact, he likely made it through half of the fight on heart alone.
Recently, there has been talk of Holloway potentially moving up to lightweight. That would mean he’d be facing the likes of top-ranked 155 pounders such as Kevin Lee. Lee will compete this weekend at UFC on FOX 31.
Speaking on “The MMA Hour,” Lee discussed Holloway being tossed into the discussion for GOAT. Lee said people throw fighters into that mix way too fast nowadays (via MMA Mania):
“I feel like in time maybe people will stop doing that. We are talking about something bigger than that. I feel like people are too short-sighted. You win one fight and all of a sudden you are the GOAT,” Lee said.
“And this is no disrespect to Max at all. Max is one of the very few fighters in the game that I got a lot of respect for and actually consider a good friend. He looked amazing, really. We are all kind of the same generation. I feel like me and him both are in the new generation of fighter.
“He set the bar last week and it has given me a bit more motivation, a bit more fuel to go out there and put a show on. But, I feel like that’s not the way you get it done. That’s not the way you become a superstar by automatically let’s just bump up.”
Lee went on to compare the situation to that of UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Immediately after his win over Conor McGregor in October, Khabib called out Floyd Mayweather Jr. for a boxing fight:
“You see the same thing with Khabib. I told this to Ali, you win one fight and all of a sudden you want to fight Floyd Mayweather for $100 million. Come on, this is not how this game works. It’s a marathon.
“Keep putting in the work, keep taking out No. 1 contenders and then maybe you will get there eventually. You talk about guys like Georges St-Pierre who had to defend the title nine or ten times before they started saying that. I feel that is the way the sport should really be. Let’s get back to the real sport, let’s get back to, we’ve already seen it.
“Why do you want Khabib to fight Floyd? It’s not even a great fight. Why do you want Max to come up and fight somebody like Khabib or like me? It’s unfair for him to even have to, that’s a lot of weight. People do not understand, we are competitors.
“We are just too big and too strong. It’s too big of a disadvantage. I feel like it needs to be a clear playing field, and then that’s when you really see the best fight.”