Legacies Are On the Line in the UFC 276 Co-Main Event
In the co-main event of UFC 276, Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway will compete against each other for the third time. Currently, Volkanovski has a 2-0 lead over Holloway, having earned two decision victories over the Hawaiian. Even if you scored the second fight for Holloway, and many people did, the record books give credit to Volkanovski.
In the history of the UFC featherweight division, four fighters have achieved championship status. This includes Jose Aldo, Conor McGregor, Holloway, and Volkanovski. In addition to that, the debate for the best featherweight of all time comes down to those four names. The outcome of this trilogy will greatly affect that debate. Let’s take a look at what is at stake for each of these fighters and what might come with a victory.
Alexander Volkanovski does not have as much at risk in this fight with Holloway. With two wins in the bank already, even if he loses, he will have a 2-1 lead. As a result, he would likely be given a fourth fight and an opportunity to get the belt back.
With that being said, if Volkanovski wins, he will have three wins against an all-time great. This would undoubtedly make Volkanovski’s case for being the best featherweight of all time compelling. Wins over Aldo, Holloway, Chad Mendes, Brian Ortega, and Chan Sung Jung create quite the resume. Volkanovski would have to add a couple more title defenses and display some longevity to surpass Aldo as the GOAT, but a win Saturday would be a step in the right direction.
On the other hand, if Holloway is unable to be victorious against Volkanovski, he will be in a bad spot in his career. Three losses to the champion of a division will nearly guarantee that he will never earn another title shot. This would leave Holloway as a permanent gatekeeper to the belt, or he would have to bump up to lightweight to find some fresh blood. Neither of those options are as appealing as being the featherweight champion. From a legacy standpoint, if Holloway loses, he will take a permanent back seat to Volkanovski in any discussion regarding legacy.
As I previously mentioned, if Holloway can win, he will see a fourth fight against Volkanovski. This would allow Holloway to climb back and even the score with Volkanovski. In all fairness, if that occurs, we will probably see a fifth fight between the pair. A lot of things would have to happen for that to take place, but Holloway winning the next bout would be the first step in that chain of events. If he can pull it off, he will be back on track, and he could achieve legendary things in the world of MMA.
Double Champ Possibilities
Both Volkanovski and Holloway have expressed interest in moving up to lightweight. Holloway has even done it once before. The winner of this fight or series of fights will likely be allowed to move up to lightweight and pursue double champ status. It is evident that few featherweights can challenge Volkanovski or Holloway, and a champ vs champ fight would make sense for both guys down the road. However, only one guy can receive this opportunity, and their legacy of being an all-time great will grow as a result. The winner of the trilogy bout at UFC 276 will be the leader in the double champ race.
At UFC 276, legacies will be on the line. It will be more than just adding another win against top competition to their resume. This fight will shape the future for each fighter’s career. The winner will be looking to create a legacy that propels them into the talks of being the best fighter of all time, regardless of weight class.