The game of musical chairs in the UFC has ended and it looks like Max Halloway is going be left standing alone.
The UFC featherweight contender has been doing his best to poke at the top guys to try and work his way up the ladder. He's taken jabs at Conor McGregor, Jose Aldo and Frankie Edgar for months, but hasn't gotten much of a response. They've pretty much been focused on other things. Aldo and Edgar on McGregor and McGregor on Nate Diaz and ruling the UFC in every division.
Late last month, the lineup for the historic UFC 200 was announced and it seems Halloway is left out in the cold. Aldo will be fighting Edgar in an interim title bout, while McGregor will have his rematch with Diaz.
Halloway has had an impressive winning streak as of late, winning eight in-a-row in the 145 pound division. But now that he's moved up to just outside the top fighters of the division, there's no one left to fight BUT those top guys...and they're kinda busy fighting each other.
He spoke to MMA Mania about his frustrating spot in the featherweight division:
"I just feel left out because my last fight wasn't a finish. When I was finishing guys, the media was on me like crazy. Then I have this one decision fight against a guy (Jeremy Stephens) who, 'Cowboy' Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, these guys couldn't finish him. And then [people are] looking at me, asking me how the hell I didn't finish him. It's like, look at these guys. These guys are beasts and they had a hard time with the fight too. They couldn't finish him either."
Halloway blames not getting a chance partly due to how people perceive his last fight:
"So I'm a true believer in, people only remember you for your last fight. And my last fight, I felt, was great, but I guess some people didn't think it was so hot. So it is what it is."
Halloway, annoyed with the fights the UFC matchmakers are making, just wants to get back in the octagon at this point. It doesn't matter who he fights, he just wants to fight.
"I want to get back in there and I want to get busy. I've been telling everybody, I've had four fights each in back-to-back years. One fight was in January [in 2014], and then last year my first fight was in February. Now, it's like the end of March and I have no fight. I'm not even booked yet. I would like to get back in June or July. The UFC 200 card, that big one, or June on that big Weidman-Rockhold card (UFC 199). But still, look, that's almost half the year. Half the year is almost gone by fighting there, so I want to get busy."
Halloway will do what it takes to get his chance to prove he's the best and he'll be patient doing it.
"If it takes 10, 12, 13... I'll just keep going. Because like I said, I want to just prove I'm the best in the world. So if I have to keep proving it, I'm going to go out there and keep proving it. But at the end of the day, I want those big money fights. So whenever the big money fights start rolling in, that should be fun. But I don't know. Who knows? The UFC has a mind of its own. Whatever they want to do, I'm down for. Just keep me active, please. That's all I ask the UFC to do. Keep me active."
Much like Frankie Edgar, Halloway doesn't think McGregor will ever return to the featherweight division regardless of what happens with Nate Diaz. After UFC 200, McGregor will have competed twice at the 170 pound level, making it harder to cut back down to 145.
"At the end of the day, who knows if he comes back to 145? Honestly, my feeling, I don't think that he does. I think that 155-pound fight (against dos Anjos) was already saying that he just wanted to be at 155, hold the two titles, say that he did it, then just move up full-time. That's what I thought he was thinking of doing, because he's a big guy. All you hear of him is struggling to make 145. This guy struggles. You see, all he does is [cut weight] all week long."
Halloway sees McGregor getting bigger every fight and thinks that McGregor has passed the point of no return.
"So he was going to go up sooner or later. Then you see him getting bigger every fight. ... His last fight, he was a big boy. And he already had a hard time cutting. [With him] going back up to 170, I think he's going to gain weight and have to cut a little, just trying to compete at that level, at 170. So who knows if he's coming down?"