UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway suffered his first loss in an incredible 14 fights when he dropped a hard-fought decision to Dustin Poirier in the main event of April 13’s UFC 236.
‘Blessed’ was fighting to become a two-division champ when he met ‘The Diamond’ for the interim lightweight championship. Unfortunately, that didn’t transpire, however, as Poirier’s power as the bigger fighter became apparent early in the bout. Poirier rocked the Hawaiian featherweight with several heavy shots early on.
Holloway came back with a mid-round surge of his own. But Poirier dug deep and finished the fight strong, earning a unanimous decision on the judges’ scorecards. The loss had many discussing the prospect that staying at featherweight was clearly the best course of action for Holloway. However, Holloway’s longtime training partner Yancy Medeiros does not agree.
The fellow Hawaiian recently told MMA Junkie that Holloway routinely spars with lightweight fighters, making it a natural weight class for him:
“Everyone is like, ‘Max can eat punches,’” Medeiros said. “Well, yeah, I punch him! That’s my main sparring partner. I don’t try to hurt him, but yeah he’s not the champ for nothing, man. He’s tough, man. He’s my main sparring partner, and he don’t spar with light guys. He spars with all ’55s and up. So it’s definitely a natural weight class for him. He’s my main sparring partner, and I train with the champ every weekend.”
Medeiros then went on to discuss ‘Blessed’s’ training for the pay-per-view main event. He said Holloway had only undergone a six-week training camp. With more time, he claimed, the results may have been ‘way different’:
“For Max, it was like a six-week camp, and I think he did great off a six-week camp,” Medeiros said. “No excuses, I’m just saying Max having a longer camp? Way different results, I think. Not saying it would alter the win or the loss but if he had 13 weeks to train for Dustin. A lot more variables to take place.”
Training more for the move up to lightweight may or may not have changed the outcome of the fight as Medeiros says. Poirier has absolutely been on fire in his last three previous fights against true lightweights. ‘The Diamond’ was and is on a surge rarely seen at the top level of mixed martial arts (MMA).
In that sense, Holloway actually did better than former lightweight champions Eddie Alvarez, Justin Gaethje, and Anthony Pettis. Those three decorated names were finished by Poirier in three successive fights.
What do you think – would a longer training camp have led Holloway to a win over Poirier at UFC 236?