Max Holloway Is Just Getting Started Following His Epic BMF Title Win at UFC 300, Credits Justin Gaethje for First UFC Knockdown

'Blessed' may be a UFC veteran, but at just 32 years old, the former featherweight champ has a lot of gas left in the tank

Max Holloway Is Just Getting Started
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

Max Holloway’s UFC career has never seen him knocked down, according to official fight stats.

After more than a decade of competing against some of the biggest names in the game, Max Holloway is just beginning to hit his prime.

After dominating everyone in the featherweight division not named Alexander Volkanovski for years, ‘Blessed’ made the move up to lightweight for a BMF title clash with 155-pound fan favorite Justin Gaethje at UFC 300. Being two of the best strikers the sport has ever seen, everyone expected fireworks between the two warriors.

In the end, we got that and so much more.

With 10 seconds to go in the five-round bout, Holloway pointed to the ground, challenging Gaethje to stand and trade with him. Gaethje obliged, standing in the proverbial phone booth and throwing caution to the wind. With one second left on the clock, Holloway landed a vicious overhand right that sent Gaethje crashing to the canvas, bringing an end to the fight at the 24:59 mark. 

In the months leading up to their fight, many pundits were writing off Holloway for a variety of reasons. Some believed that he was no longer the fighter he was once despite being only 32 years old. Others were quick to point toward his failed lightweight experiment against Dustin Poirier in 2019, suggesting that Holloway wouldn’t have the power to hang with ‘The Highlight.’ 

Appearing on a recent episode of The Joe Rogan Experience, ‘Blessed’ was more than happy to prove the “experts” and MMA math believers wrong. 

“The problem is these guys got to see me grow up,” Holloway said. “I got into the UFC when I was 20 years old and a lot of people think that I’m DC’s old ass. Like 42 years old or something. I’m a young guy. A lot of people think I’m old because I’ve been fighting since I was 20 and I’ve fought a who’s who in my division. 

Especially with the Volk fights. The first two fights were alright and that third fight is what made everybody go, ‘Oh, he’s done for.’ Brother, that was Volk’s night. He was on. It is what it is and now they’re doing MMA math because Ilia [Topuria] did that to Volk. Even Ilia’s doing MMA math. ‘I beat a guy who beat you down.’ Brother, that is not how it works. I lost to Dustin [Poirier] and Dustin got knocked out by Justin [Gaethje]. Can I now say I beat Dustin? No. Styles make fights.”

“I keep hearing the talk about, ‘His chin gotta go this time…’ When the hell is my chin– my chin was supposed to go the last 20 fights. Like what are you guys talking about?”

The BMF titleholder acknowledges Gaethje as the first to drop him in the Octagon.

“It didn’t count as a drop, which is crazy,” Holloway said. “ESPN is like posting it, saying like, in however many fights I’m with the UFC, I stayed there and didn’t get dropped. I’m like, that’s some bulls***. Get Justin [Gaethje] down. I’ll take it, you know what I mean? I wouldn’t be a man sitting here and telling you that I didn’t [get dropped].”

Encountering a series of tough opponents, Holloway recalls the impact of being knocked down by Justin Gaethje’s raw power.

“I remember getting hit by that punch and then like I sat and then I came back up. I was like, what the f*** did he just hit me with? I was like, holy s***. I was like, that was a good punch. And then when I rewatched it, he hit me like right on the top of my dome. I was like, holy smack brother. This guy smacks.

“I was fine,” Holloway recalled the moment in round 4. “As soon as I got up, it was one of those like, boom, the legs just give out. Like, I was still there even when I was standing, I was looking at ’em. But, I don’t know how that didn’t count as a drop, I don’t know what they count as a drop. That was crazy.” 

Max Holloway Says Islam Makhachev Should Have Fought Gaethje in February Instead of Complaining About a ‘Useless’ BMF Fight

Pundits weren’t the only ones with something negative to say about Holloway or his scrap with Gaethje ahead of UFC 300. Reigning lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev infamously dubbed the BMF title tilt as a “useless fight for a useless belt.” 

Holloway believes his fight with Gaethje was only made because Makhachev turned down the chance to fight in February following his first-round head-kick KO of Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 294 in October. Had the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ agreed to fight before Ramadan, it likely would have been against Gaethje, preventing the “useless” BMF fight from happening in the first place. 

“A lot of people were giving me sh*t because Islam talked about our fight and said it was useless and I’m like, bro if you took the fight in February when you should have because you came out clean [against Volkanovski], I think Justin would have fought you,” Holloway said.

With a win over one of the lightweight division’s top-ranked contenders, Holloway could theoretically pursue a fight with Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound crown — but instead, it looks like ‘Blessed’ will stick around at 145 intent on making Ilia Topuria’s title reign a short one. 

Watch the full JRE podcast episode below:

Published on April 26, 2024 at 3:34 pm
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