Kattar sees title shot next with win over Holloway
Riding a two-fight winning streak and working his way up the featherweight rankings, Calvin Kattar, currently sitting at No. 6, will face former champion Max Holloway in Saturday’s UFC main event, as the promotion makes its return to Fight Island.
Catch UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar LIVE Saturday at 1pm et/10am pt on TSN3/5 and TSN Direct.
Before dropping the belt late in 2019 to Alexander Volkanovski, Holloway was one of the most dominant champions in the UFC, yet Kattar did not hesitate to seek him out as an opponent or sign his name on the dotted line for the fight. He says he’s ready to thrust himself into the title conversation.
“Mainly, he’s the number one contender, most people still consider him the champ, so a win over him puts you next in line,” Kattar told TSN. “Also, the division has been at a standstill in the previous months and he’s the only one that hasn’t had anything booked or lined up and was available, so we thought it made the most sense and a lot of upside with this one and we’re excited.
“He’s No. 8 pound-for-pound [fighter] in the UFC and arguably one of the best featherweights to ever compete, so any time you have a chance to go against a guy like that and add him to your resume, is a great opportunity.”
In preparation for Saturday’s fight, Kattar did not watch Holloway’s split-decision loss to Volkanovski in their rematch at UFC 251. The 32-year-old is more concerned with sharpening his own skills than paying attention to his opponents.
“I watched a good amount [of film]; I didn’t really watch that one the craziest,” said Kattar. “I’ve seen what I had to see from him and I believe we know what we’re getting ourselves involved with. I’m more interested in implementing what I’m good at than I am worried about what Max Holloway does.
“I think a lot of people get beat mentally before they get in there going against a guy of his calibre and we’re going to go out and worry about being the best Calvin Kattar.”
One thing the Methuen, Massachusetts native will not do is go outside of himself or change his style to hype a fight.
“That’s always the best version - to be yourself, be authentic,” said Kattar. “I think some of these guys get lost too much in hyping a fight and it doesn’t come out as it should. It’s definitely not authentic - it’s forced almost. For me, I let my fight do the talking and I’ve got a big one, obviously, with Max and all the stars are aligned for a big moment and I couldn’t be more ready.”
A victory over the former champion of the division on Saturday would have to place Kattar squarely into the title picture, but would it be enough to make him next in line? Kattar thinks he would have a rightful claim to a shot at the gold with a win, but knows, sometimes even that’s not enough.
“I think that’s what I would earn, but we all know how that goes, who’s deserving and who gets it, or how the rankings work, who knows, man?" Kattar said. "Those things are all out of my control. I just want to go out, perform like I’m capable of and show why I’m one of the best in the world.”
Kattar has achieved everything he has up to this point by being patient and putting in his hard work. It has brought him this far and, as he already said, he’s going to stay authentic to himself.
“People look too far ahead," Kattar said. "For me, it was just put your head down, put in the work. It’s always the next fight. I have goals, obviously, but you don’t go far if you don’t focus on the task at hand each day. That’s what I pride myself in, man: Put in the work, keep my head down day in, day out. If you do enough good things everyday, eventually one great thing is going to happen.”