As he prepares to return for a main event showdown against Calvin Kattar at UFC Fight Island 7, which airs on ABC, the former 145-pound king understands the frustration when coming out on the wrong end of what he believes were bad scorecards.
That said, Holloway admits that the sting from a loss is a little easier to accept after hearing from a number of fighters in the UFC, who still rank him as the best featherweight in the sport while giving him the nod over Volkanovski in their most recent meeting.
“It means a lot,” Holloway said when speaking to MMA Fighting on Wednesday during the UFC Fight Island 7 media day. “That’s why the last fight, it’s hard to be made about it. It’s hard to be mad about the last fight cause exactly what you said, 80 to 90 percent of the world thought I won the fight.
“It’s not just fans. It’s competitors. It’s guys like Nate [Diaz], Dustin [Poirier], Justin [Gaethje], Jorge [Masvidal], people like coaches, GSP’s coach [Firas Zahabi], ‘Big’ John McCarthy, the guy who made the rules. I ain’t too mad about it.”
In the wake of that decision, Holloway has been one of the stronger advocates for open scoring in mixed martial arts after he had a chance to see the system work for himself while sitting cage side for a recent Invicta FC card in Kansas.
The all-women’s fight promotion has been testing open scoring with the Kansas Athletic Commission where the fighters, the broadcast team and the audience are told how the judges are scoring a fight after each and every round.
In addition to open scoring, UFC Hall of Famer Michael Bisping has also recently raised questions about accountability in judging where officials may routinely turn in bad scorecards yet seemingly there is little to no repercussions.
For Holloway’s part, he isn’t pretending that he knows all the answers but the 29-year-old Hawaiian also can’t help but hope something changes moving forward.
“I know how I feel about open scoring and I heard how the boss man [Dana White] feels about open scoring,” Holloway said. “At the end of the day, that’s how they feel but that’s not going to shake my stance on it. We ended up going to Kansas and watching the Invicta fights and watching how it went down and a lot of questions was answered. The way that I thought it would affect the fight negatively, it really didn’t. It was cool. We’ll see what happens.
“There is again, like I talk about, ‘Big’ John McCarthy actually runs classes for judges and stuff. I don’t know what the answer is. I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining but I think hopefully sooner than later they figure it out and we find out.”
Perhaps the biggest downside to that controversial decision is that Holloway has now dropped two fights to Volkanovski overall, which means he might have to work that much harder to work his way back for a third opportunity.
None of that seems to distract Holloway from the task at hand, however, as he keeps the same demeanor preparing for Kattar in his first non-title fight since 2016.
“I told you guys way before when I had the belt — the belt was just something to show the world that I was the champion,” Holloway explained. “I’m going to carry myself as a champion belt or no belt. We’re going to go out there and fight. I love fighting. I love to fight.
“People say it’s hard to get up. I’m still fighting five, five [minute] rounds. Still championship rounds. We’re on ABC. I know a lot of pay-per-view fighters that would kill to be in this position so at the end of the day, it still feels the same. A fight is a fight to me.”