Max Holloway reveals the surprising UFC foe who reset his clock

Former champion Max Holloway names the one opponent who rocked him, and it's probably not who you expect.

By: Milan Ordoñez | 1 month ago
Max Holloway reveals the surprising UFC foe who reset his clock
IMAGO | USA Today by Denny Medley

Apart from being one of the all-time featherweight greats, Max Holloway is likewise known for having a granite chin. The proud Hawaiian fought a who’s who of hard hitters in his already-storied career, and he’s taken all of them in stride. 

But as Holloway told comedian Andrew Schulz and company during a recent guest appearance on the Flagrant podcast, there is one fighter that left him not knowing where he was at the moment. And it’s a name you likely didn’t expect. 

Max Holloway names the one UFC fighter that rocked him

Max Holloway took shots from Dustin Poirier at 155 pounds and a clean head kick from Yair Rodriguez. As he said on the podcast, most people would pick the second Poirier fight as the moment he got visibly hurt. 

But as he revealed, that moment happened during the Andre Fili fight in 2014. 

MMA: UFC 172- Fili vs Holloway Apr 26, 2014; Baltimore, MD, USA; Max Holloway (black shorts) fights against Andre Fili (green shorts) during UFC 172 at Baltimore Arena. Baltimore Baltimore Arena MD USA, EDITORIAL USE ONLY PUBLICATIONxINxGERxSUIxAUTxONLY Copyright: xTommyxGilliganx 7889333
Imago | Tommy Gilligan / USA Today

“The Andre Fili fight. I can honestly say… A lot of people that watched would be, like, ‘Oh, the (second) Dustin Poirier fight…’ 

“With Andre Fili, I remember getting hit one time. He cracked me with something, I don’t even know what he hit me with. 

“I remember looking up at the scoreboard. It was in Baltimore. I was looking at the time, and I was thinking to myself, ‘What the hell am I doing right now? Why am I looking at the time? I should be looking at this guy.’

“That was probably one of the times, ever. I got hit, I was looking up, and I was distracted.” 

Max Holloway talks through Rodriguez’ head kick

Regarding the kick from “El Pantera,” the 31-year-old said he was left more dumbfounded by how the kick landed at such a close range. 

“(I felt) nothing. I was tripping out, ‘cause I was literally nose-to-nose with him. I was actually surprised he got that. In my mind, I was thinking, like, ‘What the?’ 

“You know when you see those comedy movies and you just see something, like legs or arms flying? ‘What did he hit me with?’ I was just tripping.”  

Holloway on a fourth Volkanovski fight

The current standings show Max Holloway ranked at number one at 145 pounds, making him a rightful challenger to current champion Alexander Volkanovski, at least on paper. The two men already fought thrice, with Holloway losing all three. 

Holloway prefers only to fight the top guy, but if the UFC were to throw him an opportunity, he wants it to be something fun. 

“100 percent (I want to fight Volkanovski again). It sucks that it keeps happening, but if the roles were reversed, I get it. I just want to fight the best guy in the world. 

“If the UFC don’t want me to fight Volk, stop giving me these contenders. Give me somebody else. Let’s go make fun fights. Let’s make another belt. Most Talkative Motherf—r in the UFC.”

But if a fourth fight with Volkanovski were to happen, Max Holloway isn’t changing his approach. 

“I’d love to fight (Volk). He’s one of the best guys in the world, and being able to share the Octagon with him again…

“I would change nothing. I did a great training camp, my mental’s great. He just went out there, he did his thing. I showed up, but he just did better.” 

Max Holloway’s next fight

Despite the hesitance to face a top contender, Holloway will face number nine-ranked Chan Sung Jung this weekend in Singapore. He is coming off a decision win over Arnold Allen in April and is aiming to build another win streak. 

Holloway’s current record stands at 24-7. 

Share this story

About the author
Milan Ordoñez
Milan Ordoñez

Milan Ordoñez has been covering combat sports since 2012 and has been part of the Bloody Elbow staff since 2016. He’s also competed in amateur mixed martial arts and submission grappling tournaments.

More from the author

Bloody Elbow Podcast
Related Stories