Calvin Kattar’s head coach: After Holloway, ‘we’re the logical choice for the title shot’ following UFC Vegas 46 win

The Underground

Calvin Kattar’s head coach Tyson Chartier has no doubt that after Max Holloway, his guy should be next in line for a UFC featherweight title shot. And they would gladly take that opportunity at UFC 273 if the promotion needed a late replacement for the card’s championship headliner.

The New England Cartel is riding high following UFC Vegas 46. Kattar (23-5) returned to the Octagon this past weekend after a year away and put a beating on fellow top-10 featherweight Giga Chikadze (14-3) in the night’s main event. It was a monumental victory for “The Boston Finisher” as he was able to get back in the win column and make fans and media forget about a brutal learning lesson loss to Max Holloway 12 months ago.

In one fell swoop, Kattar transformed the narrative on his career and is right back in the thick of the title contender conversation. Chartier readily admits that former division king Holloway remains at the top of the 145-pound contender queue. Especially, since he was set to face champion Alexander Volkanovski before an injury knocked him out of their trilogy booking, and fourth-ranked Chan Sung Jung jumped in to replace him.

Tyson Chartier makes the case for Calvin Kattar as a backup in the UFC 273 main event

calvin kattar, tyson chartier
Oct 27, 2018; Moncton, Canada; Calvin Kattar (red gloves) reacts after fight against Chris Fishgold (blue gloves) during UFC Fight Night at Moncton Events Centre. Mandatory Credit: Trevor MacMillan-USA TODAY Sports

After the Hawaiian, the New England Cartel co-founder says Kattar is next in the contender line, and if an injury changes plans for April’s UFC 273 headliner, they are the top choice to step in as a replacement to compete for UFC gold.

“Right now, if I’m looking at it from the UFC’s perspective, Max is the next guy. He’s gonna face whoever wins in April. Who’s next? [Brian] Ortega, or Yair [Rodriguez], or Calvin. But we’re the only ones coming off a win. So we’re the logical choice for the next title shot after that,” Chartier told “Especially if we go get a win [next]. We go and beat one of those guys, I think it’s a no-brainer that we’re next in line for a title shot.

“I hear some people saying, ‘he’s maybe two wins away from a title shot.’ I really feel like we’re one win away. Or one injury. If someone gets injured in April, we’re the guy they should throw in [at UFC 273],” he continued. “We’re coming out of this fight healthy. Didn’t take a lot of damage in that fight surprisingly. Let’s say Volkanovski pulls out in April, do they do an interim with us and ‘Zombie’? Maybe not, but if ‘Zombie’ pulls out, we’re the guy to replace him because the other two are coming off losses and the guy in front of us is hurt. I think we’re right there.”

Although “Blessed” is expected to recover in time to face the winner of Volkanovski vs “Korean Zombie,” if he has a slow recovery from his injury, Chartier believes Kattar should be the next man up.

“I don’t know what Max’s injury is. Hopefully, it’s nothing bad. He taught us a lot in that [January 2021] fight. Him and his team. … Let’s say he’s out long-term. Right now, the division as it sits, if Max can’t fight the winner of the April fight, who deserves to be in front of us right now?,” he said.

Chartier breaks down the current contender tiers in the UFC’s featherweight division

When it was first announced that Holloway would be unable to compete against his rival Volkanovski, several names were pushed by fans and media as replacement opponents, along with Jung. Including Kattar’s recent opponent Giga Chikadze, former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, and sixth-ranked talent Josh Emmett.

Emmett is in the midst of a four-fight win streak, and a contender case could be made for the Team Alpha Male product. However, while Chartier has a great deal of respect for Emmett, he feels the 36-year-old is lacking a statement win during his recent hot streak, and that he resides in a lower tier in the division pecking order.

“Obviously, “Zombie’s” gonna go [and fight Volkanovski]. Let’s say Zombie loses — I assume he’ll be a big underdog — then he’s out of the way. Then you’re looking at Emmett, us, Ortega, and Yair. Emmett, I think he’s a tier down from us. It’s Yair, Ortega, Calvin, and then “Zombie”. Those are the four guys,” Chartier explained.

“Max is up here and then there’s that tier of us. Then you have the Emmett’s, the Giga’s, the [Dan] Ige’s, and those guys. And this is no disrespect to Emmett, he’s a beast. He had a close fight with Ige. I thought Ige won on the night, but I’m not a judge. We were watching the [Shane] Burgos fight and I thought Burgos won that fight,” he added. “If you look at the last two fights that Emmett’s had, he hasn’t had that punctuation win. I think people that talk about Emmett in the title picture are a little premature.”

Since 2018, Kattar is 6-3 with his losses coming to Holloway, Zabit Magomedsharipov, and Renato Moicano. In that time he has beaten Burgos, Ige, Chikadze, and Jeremy Stephens.

Is Chartier right and Kattar should get the job of late replacement in the UFC 273 headliner, if needed?

Join the discussion on this topic…

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