Max Holloway was caught up in a social media back and forth with Conor McGregor a day after he successfully defended his UFC featherweight title against former champion Jose Aldo at UFC 218.
Speaking about the interaction with the Irishman on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour, Holloway said he felt implored to reply to McGregor after he referenced him in an Instagram post.
“When a bully pulls your hair, you punch him in the face,” Holloway told Ariel Helwani.
“You know, it’s funny. The guy’s funny, I couldn’t help but laugh. I’m on his mind apparently.
“Like I said, I told you guys, I’m a champion and we just brought order back to the division. I’m trying to think of our division and respect all the other fighters.
“It took me 10 fights to get the damn interim title shot and then 11 to get an undisputed shot. It’s my duty to make sure everything runs smoothly. I gotta respect our sport, my division and the guys that are fighting in it. That’s what I gotta do. At the end of the day, this guy is gonna keep yapping.”
As far as Holloway is concerned, McGregor is holding onto the victory he claimed over him in Boston back in 2013.
“This guy has got a win over me when we were kids in a Fight Night show — I think the main event was (Chael) Sonnen and (Mauricio) “Shogun” Rua. I don’t know if the two of them are in the UFC anymore,” he said.
“You know me and him made 12K that night and I think he’s happy to hold onto that. That’s the kind of person he is.
“(UFC) asked me about the Conor fight at 155 when I was signing my new contract like I told you guys, but I heard he was trying to fight Paulie Malignaggi in MMA. … I don’t know what else you want me to say.
“He holds his head high over that win, I would never. Look at what I did. I fought someone who people consider and who I consider the greatest of all time. I gave him his straight rematch. I didn’t care.
“If you want to be the best you’ve got the beat the best, and the best is ‘Blessed,’ baby.”
Holloway went on to say that he would be more than willing to fight McGregor again and if the fight does not come to fruition the lightweight champion would be to blame.
“Tell him I’ll be waiting. If that fight doesn’t happen it’s not on our side, it’s on his. Right now, I’m focused on champ life,” said Holloway.
“When the exhibition fights come up and I have choices to make I can start calling out boxing guys and tell them, ‘come over to MMA, big shot.’ We’ll see what happens, but it’s just funny, you know? It’s funny.”
“I’m quite surprised because every time they talk about this guy’s UFC career, one name doesn’t come up and that’s Max Holloway. It’s me.
“For him to bring me up is actually funny. It’s surprising, it’s hilarious and we’ll see what happens. He’s still retired in my eyes. When he comes back and wants to fight a real MMA fighter let me know.
“Until then it’s like I said, if a bully pulls your hair, you’ve got to turn around and punch him in the face.”
The featherweight champion also suggested recent reports regarding McGregor’s personal life made him think a rematch between the two is unlikely.
“I don’t know what to think,” Holloway said. “What do you think? Do you think it’s a possibility? Do you think his recent actions and all of what’s going on and all the news that’s coming out about what’s going on with him personally and stuff – I don’t know what to think when it comes to Conor McGregor.
“He’s an interesting man – fair play to him. If it’s a fight it’s a fight, but first things first I’ve got my throne to defend.”