With a win over former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in the main event of Saturday’s UFC on ABC 1, Calvin Kattar feels as if he will have done enough to establish himself as the division’s top contender.
“Prior to this fight (being booked), I thought if you want a title shot, you’ve got to go through Max to get it,” Kattar told MMAJunkie. “I said that before I got the opportunity to fight him. Some people consider him still the champ. A win over him, I think puts me next in line.”
The 32-year-old Kattar, who trains under the tutelage of head coach Tyson Chartier with the rising New England Cartel team, has progressed greatly in recent memory. A winner of four of his last five fights, Kattar is currently riding a two-fight winning streak with victories over Jeremy Stephens and Dan Ige, which has made him a name to watch at 145 pounds.
While the New England native has headlined two UFC events before, there’s no denying that this fight against Holloway on a platform like ABC will represent not only the toughest test of his career but also the biggest stage.
Calvin Kattar, however, doesn’t seem to be concerned with the magnitude of the task at hand.
“I don’t feel like the stage is too big or anything like that,” Kattar said. “I know I belong in these moments. (I had) just a little tactical error (in my first main event against Magomedsharipov). I cleaned it up with Jeremy (Stephens) and Ige, and now I have a big test ahead of me with Max Holloway, who is arguably one of the best featherweight fighters of all-time. It’s great to have these opportunities and just show where I stack up among the division’s best.”
While he’s certainly developed into a well-rounded mixed martial artist, Kattar, who owns a 22-4 overall record, is perhaps best known for his crisp boxing and finishing ability. That’s one reason why this matchup against Holloway is so exciting, as the Hawaiian is also known as a skilled and lengthy volume striker who has the ability to pour it on opponents and end fights.
When analyzing Holloway as an opponent, Kattar doesn’t seem to be underestimating the former champion. However, he does appear to be highly confident, and as always, he’ll be looking to end things early.
“That’d be a nice way to write it up,” Kattar said. “I’m always looking to get the finish – every time I step in there, I’m looking to go for the kill. It’ll be no different stepping across from Max in there. It’s a great test and I’m excited. I’ve been ready all year long, and it couldn’t come at a better time.”
Long Island-based sports writer covering MMA, Boxing, and the New York Jets.