Max Holloway has not been in a non-title bout since 2016.  The former UFC featherweight champion returns on Saturday to headline the first Fight Night card of 2021 against Calvin Kattar on Fight Island.

Catch UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Kattar LIVE Saturday at 1pm et/10am pt on TSN3/5 and TSN Direct.

While the official record shows Holloway coming into the main event off of two losses, if you ask the former champion, he believes he should’ve had his hand raised in July title fight rematch against Alexander Volkanovski, who defeated Holloway for the featherweight crown at UFC 245, and says many are convinced of the same thing.

“I can’t be mad about that last fight, 80-90 per cent of the people thought I won and it’s not just fans, these guys are coaches,” Holloway told TSN.  “[Georges St-Pierre]’s coach Firas [Zahabi], Big John McCarthy, the guy who made the rules.  My competitors, Dustin [Poirier], Jorge [Masvidal], Justin [Gaethje], Nate [Diaz], all these guys [are] backing me, so at the end of the day, it is what it was you know? I can’t be too mad about it - you live to fight another day and you’re on to the next.”

The next that he’s on to, will be a matchup with Kattar, a 32-year-old rising contender who has won four of his last five fights and a fighter who Holloway says he's ready to match stand-up skills with in the Octagon.

“He must be good; he must be great actually because I’m fighting him, I get to share the cage with him,” said Holloway.  “A lot of people talk about his boxing and he’s from Boston.  Boxing and Boston is a good mix, I can’t wait.  Some people like to say my boxing is up there with some of the greats, so I can’t wait to go out there and see whose striking gets it done.”

One thing the 29-year-old former champion is not doing ahead of the fight, is spending too much time reviewing what his main-event opponent did in his previous victories.

“I’ve watched tape here and there; I’m not too crazy about it, that’s why I have coaches,” said Holloway.  “I like seeing stuff to see stuff, but lately I haven’t been really watching too much tape on my opponents.  I’ll watch some here and there to get familiarized with it.”

Growing up in the small town of Waianae on the west side of Oahu, Holloway saw many talented fighters and athletes fall through the cracks of the system.  Through his experiences, he knew that he had to stay focused so he could be successful on a global stage.

“I saw what drugs did to families very close; I saw what drugs did to someone I loved very dearly and how it affects that person to today,” said Holloway.  “I also saw athletes - it’s a different breed over there where I’m from, we have a different breed of athletes - and just to watch someone choose the wrong road to go down.  [For] a lot of people where I’m from, high school is the pinnacle for them and I always told myself, that’s not going to be it.

“Not only is this Island going to know me, the world is going to know me and with all this UFO talk going on, even the outer world probably knows me.  At the end of the day, this is what I wanted to do - I wanted to prove that we could do it and show people that people from our side can be something and make a life for themselves.”

As Holloway embarks on the road back to reclaiming his belt, he isn’t ruling out moving up to lightweight, as he did for his interim title shot against Poirier.  In fact, he isn’t ruling out fighting anyone, no matter how big, small or fatherly they are.

“We’ll see what happens; I’ve been calling out DC [Daniel Cormier] I’ve yet to hear from him for the 'daddest' man on the planet and that’s all the way up at heavyweight or super heavyweight, whatever weight he wants it at,” said Holloway.  “Don’t count me out of any weight. If the UFC called me at 170 or 185 or whatever weight it would be,  your boy is signing the contract and showing up. I’m a fighter, that’s my mentality.

“If you want to be the best, you gotta beat the best and the best is Blessed.”