Max Holloway mocks Ilia Topuria’s demands for potential fight: ‘That’s not a tone of a BMF’

Max Holloway epitomized the entire reason the UFC created a “BMF” title when he marched to the center of the octagon, pointed to the floor, and invited Justin Gaethje to throw down with him until the final horn in their battle at UFC 300.

With only 10 seconds remaining until a guaranteed victory on the scorecards, Holloway still risked it all by trading bombs with Gaethje, which actually resulted in one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history after the Hawaiian face-planted the former interim lightweight champion with one second left on the clock. Because he was willing to take such a risk, Holloway seems to understand the whole idea behind calling yourself the “baddest motherf*****” in the sport, but he’s not getting those same vibes from Ilia Topuria.

On Wednesday during an appearance on The MMA Hour, Topuria stated that he was only interested in facing Holloway next if he put the “BMF” title up for grabs, because otherwise “I don’t want him at all.” In response, Holloway says that just proves that maybe Topuria isn’t ready to actually compete for that title, because making those kinds of demands doesn’t really fit with the “BMF” mentality.

“That’s not a very ‘BMF’ way to say it,” Holloway told Jim Rome. “A ‘BMF’ wouldn’t say, ‘I’m not going to fight this guy unless …’ That’s kind of un-‘BMF.’ Doesn’t sound ‘BMF’ the way he’s trying to demand it and saying, ‘I’m not going to fight.’

“A ‘BMF’ fights whatever, fights whoever, whenever, any weight, any time, and that’s not a tone of a ‘BMF.’”

While Holloway remains adamant that he’ll ultimately fight whoever UFC throws at him next, a showdown with Topuria still tops his own personal wish-list.

He stated just after booking the Gaethje fight that he always envisioned reclaimed the featherweight title, which he previously held through three title defenses from 2017-19.

To add to that, Topuria dethroning Volkanovski to become champion made Holloway’s path back to the belt that much easier after losing to Volkanovski three previous times.

But Holloway ultimately doesn’t mind if he goes through Topuria and then runs it back with Volkanovski for a fourth time, because that’s just what a real “BMF” would do.

“That was always my main goal. My main goal was always fighting Ilia,” Holloway said. “This was a fun fight. Shout out to Justin Gaethje. Justin Gaethje’s a legend, ‘The Highlight,’ he had everything to lose. He gave me the shot and this happened. But in my mind it was always, no matter what, win, lose, whatever it is, even until today, I wanted to fight Ilia.

“People always ask me, ‘What are your thoughts on Ilia?’ The only thing that comes to my mind is it’s questionable. The dude is super questionable. Every other 145 contender that they wanted to fight [Alexander Volkanovski], they went through me. They fought me or they had to fight me. That’s one guy that eluded me. I don’t know how, I don’t know why, but he did and he got the title shot.”

Holloway praised Topuria for dethroning Volkanovski with a brutal knockout to become champion back in February at UFC 298.

That being said, Holloway still sent a not-so-subtle history lesson to Topuria when it comes time to compare their résumés against each other.

“He beat a guy I couldn’t figure out,” Holloway said of Topuria vs. Volkanovski. “He fought the guy once, I fought the guy three times, and I saw him say that slick stuff took him nine minutes for what took me 90 minutes and I couldn’t do it. Something crazy like that.

“That’s funny. Last time I checked, when I was your age, I already had title defenses, buddy. So it looks like you’ve still got some catching up to do.”

As much as Topuria remains the top option for Holloway, Holloway isn’t exactly married to the matchup, especially with a lot of other potential fights available to him.

He could stick around at a higher weight class and await the chance to face Conor McGregor or Michael Chandler after they meet in the UFC 303 main event. Holloway could also potentially pursue a title shot at lightweight with Islam Makhachev, who’s set to defend his belt against Dustin Poirier at UFC 301 in June.

Whatever ends up happening, Holloway has no complaints, because that wouldn’t be very becoming of a true “BMF” champion.

“There’s options. Especially in this sport, it’s always great to have options,” Holloway said. “I’m ranked at a higher weight class now. I’ve got my weight class at [145] sitting right there, knocking on the door. Conor’s coming back. Ilia’s there, Islam’s there. Dustin’s fighting Islam. It should be fun.

“Like I’ve been saying, that [145] title’s what I want. I want it back. But whatever way the UFC wants to push me, they’re going to push me. I’m waiting. I’m all ears.”

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