That’s how it’s done folks.
Max Holloway doesn’t need a Conor McGregor rematch but he definitely wouldn’t say no to the guaranteed payday that comes when you share the Octagon with the biggest superstar in mixed martial arts.
McGregor remains one of the most dangerous fighters in the world but he is always going to be the subject of more call-outs than anyone else just due to his unprecedented drawing power.
We’ve seen Nate Diaz’s infamous “you’re taking everything I’ve ever worked for, motherfucker!” Eddie Alvarez took a different approach when he followed up his UFC lightweight title win by begging for “an easy fight like Conor McGregor.” And most recently, Donald Cerrone claimed he was just waiting for McGregor to accept his challenge, which the Irishman seemingly did earlier this month.
Many believe that Cerrone makes the most sense for McGregor’s next outing but surely we have to reward the creativity Max Holloway displayed on the UFC featherweight champion’s trip to Ireland last weekend.
Without mentioning McGregor by name, ‘Blessed’ took plenty of shots at the Dubliner over the past few days and endeared himself to many Irish fans in the process.
Holloway’s first port of call was to fire a subtle dig at McGregor’s new business venture, his Proper 12 whiskey. The Hawaiian visited the Jameson Distillery in Dublin and in his praise for Ireland’s most famous spirit lay veiled criticism of McGregor’s rival brand.
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238 years of innovation, hard work, and unmatched quality. Not a watered down trend. A true pillar of Ireland, supporting the hard working families in Dublin for generations. Thank you @jamesonwhiskey for the hospitality and sharing the people's story with me. The number one Irish whiskey in the world #sinemetu
“238 years of innovation, hard work, and unmatched quality. Not a watered down trend,” Holloway wrote.
“A true pillar of Ireland, supporting the hard working families in Dublin for generations. Thank you Jameson for the hospitality. The number one Irish whiskey in the world.”
Then it was time to get Irish fight fans onside while simultaneously hinting at a potential venue for his much-discussed rematch with McGregor.
Holloway took a trip up to Croke Park, where he learned about the history of the GAA and its significance in Irish culture, praising the experience of learning about “sportsmanship in Ireland”, which could be read as a reference to McGregor’s divisive trash-talking tendencies.
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Croke Park seats 82,000 and they play Irish football, hurling, hand ball and rounders here. There is no pay even at highest levels so players have their own jobs. Teams are the counties you from so when you get older you compete against the same people you did as kids. Amateur sports but not really exhibition matches. Just about having the pride to represent the best of your community by competing against the best. Thank you @crokepark_official for sharing the history of Croker with me and teaching me about sportsmanship in Ireland
With those two social media posts, Holloway could have rested easy, content that he had accomplished what he’d set out to do during his trip to these shores.
But then McGregor left himself open to one last dig when he accidentally referred to St. Paddy’s Day as “St. Patty’s Day” in a since-deleted promotional post about his August McGregor collection of suits on Monday.
After being called out for using an unpopular way of referring to the March 17 holiday, McGregor quickly deleted the tweet and replaced it with the more commonly used spelling, St. Paddy’s Day.
But a lot of people noticed and it would appear that Holloway was one of them, as he closed out his final post about his trip by suggesting he could return on St. Paddy’s Day, spelling it the right way at the first time of asking.
Thank you Emerald Isle for making me feel at home and teaching me about your history and culture. I hope to be back again soon. Maybe for St Paddy’s day pic.twitter.com/RRnNHEqGEc
— Max Holloway (@BlessedMMA) January 29, 2019
Take a bow, Max Holloway.