UFC champ Max Holloway’s next challenger won’t be a boxer

There has been a great deal of speculation about who Max Holloway’s first title defense will come against now that he is the undisputed UFC featherweight champion.

Holloway made several public appearances in Las Vegas over the last five days and there wasn’t a clear preference among those he talked to about whether he should fight Frankie Edgar or Cub Swanson.

“The one I hear most is actually Conor McGregor,” Holloway said. “I’m like, ‘Guys, he’s a boxer right now.’”

McGregor was the last fighter to beat Holloway in 2013. McGregor went on to win the featherweight belt and then the lightweight title and is now a global superstar. Holloway also used the fight as a springboard to 11 consecutive victories and the featherweight belt. While he’d certainly like to avenge his loss to McGregor, Holloway is realistic for the moment.

“I have three losses and I want to get all of them back,” he said. “I’m a fighter. But that guy’s not even in my sport right now.”

Holloway joked he would fight both Edgar and Swanson in a handicap tag-team match if it couldn’t be determined which challenger was next for him.

“I’m willing to fight anyone,” he said. “I want to fight everyone. I have the undisputed belt and now I want the undisputed career. Anybody can get it. Who’s next is a business question. That’s up to the fans and what the UFC thinks will do the best business.”

UFC president Dana White said this weekend Holloway’s next opponent is likely Edgar.

Holloway said if that’s the case he wouldn’t mind doing it at UFC 217 in Madison Square Garden on Nov. 4 since Edgar is a New Jersey native. Holloway won the belt by beating Jose Aldo in Brazil.

“There’s a guy that’s in the running and he’s from that area,” Holloway said. “That would be a cool fight for sure. If I have to be that king that rolls into everyone else’s kingdom and (conquers them), so be it. That would be fun.”

Before any of that, Holloway has been working on a new contract.

“I’m super-confident it will get done,” he said. “I think it’s going in the right direction for sure. It’s just a waiting game now.”

Edgar lost two title bouts to Aldo, but is 7-0 in featherweight bouts against other opponents.

Mousasi to Bellator

The UFC has lost one of its top middleweight contenders.

Gegard Mousasi said on “The MMA Hour” radio show he has agreed to a free-agent deal with Bellator MMA.

Mousasi has won five consecutive fights and is coming off a win over former champ Chris Weidman in April.

Bellator president Scott Coker confirmed the signing Monday.

“I’m thrilled to welcome Gegard to the growing Bellator family,” Coker said in a statement. “He’s one of the most well-rounded fighters in all of MMA and can compete in multiple divisions, so that really opens up some exciting matchmaking opportunities for us and for the fans. We’re looking forward to having him compete on Spike TV very soon.”

Mir granted release

Former UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir has been granted his release from the organization.

Mir announced it on social media and discussed it on his podcast last weekend. A UFC official confirmed the organization and Mir had agreed to part ways.

Mir, a Las Vegan, had been trying to get out of his contract since he was issued a suspension by USADA for a violation of the UFC’s anti-doping policy last year.

As part of the conditions of his release, Mir won’t be able to compete in another organization until his two-year UFC suspension expires in April.

The Bonanza High School graduate has been in the UFC since 2001. He compiled a 16-11 record in the organization, dropping six of his last eight fights.

Under the big top

A world tour of news conferences featuring Floyd Mayweather and Conor McGregor to hype their Aug. 26 fight in Las Vegas begins Tuesday in Los Angeles.

It’s difficult to know what to expect at Staples Center when the event is scheduled to be televised by Fox Sports 2.

“It’s going to be a (expletive) (expletive) show. You know that,” White said. “Absolute (expletive) show. So, I don’t know. It’s going to be crazy.”

The network also will cover the news conferences in Toronto, New York and London later in the week. Fox Sports announced it will air pre- and post-fight shows as well as live preliminary card action Aug. 26, along with a weigh-in show Aug. 25.

More MMA: Follow all of our MMA and UFC coverage online at CoveringTheCage.com and @CoveringTheCage on Twitter.

Contact Adam Hill at ahill@reviewjournal.com or 702-277-8028. Follow @adamhilllvrj on Twitter.

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