If there was any doubt that former UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway deserves the opportunity to reclaim the title he once owned, it’s been dispelled. Hawaii’s Holloway, 29, returned to action in the main event of UFC Fight Night 197 on Saturday in Las Vegas, defeating Mexican contender Yair Rodriguez by unanimous decision after five riveting rounds of action. These two are just exchanging blows #UFCVegas42 pic.twitter.com/xmc7YBYCAm — ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 13, 2021 Rodriguez, known as one of the most vicious and versatile strikers in MMA today, had his moments in the fight, particularly in the first and fifth rounds. Holloway, however, controlled most the action with his vaunted boxing and also completed three takedowns, which he used to rack up 6:49 of control time – enough to sway the cage-side judges. With his win, Holloway (23-6) reaffirmed himself as one of the best fighters in the world, regardless of weight class. He also seemingly opened the door to a number of big-ticket bouts. The power of Holloway and Rodriguez is insane #UFCVegas42 pic.twitter.com/7GV2in1ner — ESPN MMA (@espnmma) November 13, 2021 In a post-fight interview with former UFC middleweight champion-turned-commentator Michael Bisping, the Hawaiian forecast rematches with reigning lightweight champion Charles Oliveira, who he defeated by TKO in a 2015 featherweight fight, and lightweight contender Conor McGregor, who he lost to by decision in 2013, also at featherweight. Holloway also teased a third fight with reigning featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, who he has lost to twice before, both times by way of competitive and controversial decision. “We’ll see what happens,” Holloway told Bisping. “I have a win over the 155-pound champion [Oliveira], we have Alex and stuff, I’m on the shortlist for Conor McGregor – tell him to hit my line. “We ready whenever.” Great fight!! Very competitive…well done lads #UFCVegas42 — Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) November 13, 2021 While Holloway sees rematches with Oliveira and McGregor as possibilities, UFC President Dana White believes there’s only one suitable option at present: a rematch with Volkanovski. “I don’t know what’s next for Max, but it does make sense to see him and Volkanovski again,” White said. “Conor’s still hurt. To even talk about Conor is silly.” Holloway ruled over the UFC featherweight division from 2017 to 2019. He won the title with a TKO victory over the legendary Aldo, defended it in a rematch with Aldo and against Brian Ortega, and Frankie Edgar, before losing it to Volkanovski. He then came up short in an immediate rematch with Volkanovski, losing by split decision – though many fans and pundits scored the fight in is favour. UFC: Holloway eyes McGregor rematch – ‘We’re always on the shortlist’ Other highlights of Holloway’s incredible resume include triumphs over Anthony Pettis, Ricardo Lamas, Jeremy Stephens, Oliveira, and Cub Swanson. In defeat, Rodriguez (13-3) returns to the loss column after a decision win over Jeremy Stephens and a knockout win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, the latter of which is regarded as one of the most impressive finishes in UFC history.