Teddy Atlas was the latest to give his take on the featherweight championship bout between Max Holloway and Alexander Volkanovski, which took place at UFC 276 this past Saturday. Holloway handily lost a unanimous decision to Volkanovski, getting outclassed for much of the contest.
Atlas was asked on an episode of THE FIGHT with Teddy Atlas whether he believed Holloway had gotten old overnight, or if Volkanovski is really just pulling away from the competition. He had this to say:
"Volkanovski keeps getting better, let's starts with that. But no, I don't think that's what was at play here [with Max] ... I thought that [Max] felt that pressure where this is [his] last shot at it, possibly... some of it had to do with Volkanovski, but bear with me he basically threw it out the window, and he became just a sick and destroyed person. That's not Holloway, that hasn't been the great Holloway."
Atlas is suggesting here that the mental aspect of the fight game caused Holloway's demise. Earlier in the interview, Atlas spoke about how the fight game was "75% mental," so the boxing Hall of Famer seems to believe the moment was potentially too big for Holloway. The Hawaiian-born competitor was already the first UFC fighter to receive a trilogy match-up after losing the first two championship fights. The knowledge that it's virtually impossible to receive a fourth fight weighed too heavily on Max, therefore hurting his performance.
You can watch the full interview with Atlas below:
"Volkanovski is number one pound-for-pound fighter right now," says Max Holloway
Although Max Holloway might have lost Saturday night's co-main event, he provided a shining example of how to handle a loss with grace. Rather than make any excuses or shy away from his defeat, Holloway accepted the outcome, even praising Volkanovski afterwards.
The former champion declared Volkanovski as the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, sharing this on Instagram:
Currently, Volkanovski sits at No.2 in the pound-for-pound rankings, trailing only Kamaru Usman. Both men have dominated in their respective divisions, beating the best contenders multiple times. Usman has one more title defense (5) than Volkanovski, but obviously there are many more factors that go into the pound-for-pound rankings. Regardless, Volkanovski proved he's certainly one of the best fighters on the planet after Saturday night's performance.