Max Holloway UFC Fighter Profile

When people get thrown in the deep end before they are ready two things usually happen – they drown or they thrive. Max ‘Blessed’ Holloway has certainly done the latter.


Max Holloway Fighter Bio

  • Weight class: Featherweight (145lbs)
  • Nationality / birthplace: Waianae, Hawaii, United States
  • Fighting style: Striking (boxing)
  • Age: December 4, 1991
  • Height: 5 ft 11 in (180 cm)
  • UFC debut: UFC 143
  • Alias: “Blessed”

 


Max Holloway MMA Debut and Early Years

The Hawaiian made his professional MMA debut just before his 19th birthday, amassing a respectful 4-0 record on the Hawaii MMA circuit. By the time he was 20, Holloway had made his UFC debut against one of the top Featherweight prospects in the organisation at that time.

That prospect was Dustin Poirier, who boasted an impressive 11-1 record at the time and was slated to face top ten featherweight Ricardo Lamas before he was forced to withdraw due to injury. Holloway stepped in for Lamas on just four weeks’ notice, and was the youngest fighter signed to the UFC roster upon his arrival to the organisation.

Holloway lost to Poirier in the first round via submission, which showed Blessed’s lack of grappling experience at the time. However, Holloway’s youth and athleticism kept many pundits optimistic that he would have a great MMA career ahead.

Returning to Winning Ways in the UFC

The rest of 2012 proved to be better for Holloway as he won his next three fights in the UFC against Pat Schilling, Justin Lawrence and Leonard Garcia. However, he fell short to wrestling standout Dennis Bermudez, losing by split decision in their UFC 160 bout.

He then lost two in a row after losing to eventual MMA sensation Conor McGregor, who was able to take Holloway down at will and earn a unanimous decision victory. If there was any consolation for Holloway, however, it would be that he was McGregor’s only UFC victory that went to the judges’ scorecards.

Another consolation was that Holloway was only 21-years-old at the time, and had a lot of time to improve on the more green aspects of his game. That was exactly what Holloway did as he would transition from young prospect to elite mixed martial artist.

Holloway Extends a Winning Streak

2014 turned out to be a fantastic year for Holloway as he went 4-0 in the Octagon throughout that year. All of those victories coming in the form of stoppages against Will Chope, Andre Fili, Clay Collard and Akira Corassani, and put Holloway within sight of a top ten fight.

After he defeated Cole Miller via unanimous decision, Holloway got his long awaited chance at the top ten when he was given a match up against featherweight standout Cub Swanson. Although Swanson was coming off a loss to former UFC Lightweight champion Frankie Edgar, he had previously come off a six-fight win streak, and was widely considered to be a top-five featherweight fighter.

It was a golden opportunity for Holloway to show the MMA world that he truly improved as a fighter, and belonged with the top featherweights in the world. It was an opportunity he took full advantage as he finished Swanson via guillotine choke in the third round.

Entering the UFC Top 10 Rankings

The win not only put Holloway in the top ten, but also gave him his first ever Main Event slot on a UFC card, which came against Charles Oliveira at UFC Fight Night 74. The match had a peculiar ending as Oliveira injured himself while attempting a takedown (later revealed to be an oesophagus tear) and could not continue, which gave Holloway his seventh straight UFC victory.

Holloway then made it eight straight wins after defeating UFC veteran Jeremy Stephens via unanimous decision at UFC 194. Eight straight victories would usually grant a fighter a title shot. However, the decision by featherweight champion Conor McGregor to challenge for the Lightweight belt, as well as the presence of other top fighters such Frankie Edgar and Jose Aldo, meant Holloway would need at least one more fight before getting a shot at the belt.

Challenging for UFC Gold

That fight came at UFC 199 against another decorated Featherweight veteran, Ricardo Lamas, whose grappling prowess meant that Holloway – whose previous losses largely came to being dominated on the ground – would have a major challenge on his hands. It was a challenge that Blessed passed with flying colours, as he was able to successfully defend the numerous takedown attempts by Lamas while dominating him on the feet en route to a decision victory.

Holloway as UFC Featherweight Champion

Credit: Max Holloway / Instagram

 

After nine straight wins, Holloway finally got a shot at UFC gold in the form of an interim Featherweight title match against Anthony Pettis at UFC 206. The matchup was particularly interesting to many fans and pundits as the technical, unorthodox striking styles led to both fighters being compared to each other throughout their UFC careers.

There was no comparing the two when the fight took place, however, as Holloway became the first fighter to finish Pettis, having done do late in the third round. The victory gave Holloway a chance to face newly promoted featherweight titleholder Jose Aldo for the undisputed championship, which took place at UFC 212.

It was a match that truly showed how far Holloway had come throughout his five years in the UFC, as he remained calm and patient in the face of repeated striking attacks from Aldo in the first and second rounds.

The maturity and adversity displayed by Holloway in the early stages of the fight allowed him to eventually gain the edge over Aldo, eventually finding his range before finishing Aldo with pinpoint strikes in the third round.

Defending the Title in the Octagon

In his first title defence, Holloway was slated to fight Frankie Edgar at UFC 218. However, the former Lightweight champion was forced to pull out with an injury, and was replaced by Aldo.

The rematch played out in much similar fashion to the original fight, with Aldo starting out strong before Holloway gained the edge and once again finished the Brazilian late in the third round to retain the featherweight gold.

At just 26 years of age, the sky is the limit for Holloway.

Like the man he beat twice, Jose Aldo, the potential for Blessed to be a long-term Featherweight champion is extremely high. At a relatively young age, he has transitioned from an above average striker to an elite MMA fighter with high level abilities in all facets of the sport.

 

Max Holloway UFC Fight Record

Here are Max Holloway’s statistics from his professional MMA career.

Opponent

Res.

Date

Event

Method

José Aldo Win December 2, 2017 UFC 218 TKO (punches)
José Aldo Win June 3, 2017 UFC 212 TKO (punches)
Anthony Pettis Win December 10, 2016 UFC 206 TKO (body kick and punches)
Ricardo Lamas Win June 4, 2016 UFC 199 Decision (unanimous)
Jeremy Stephens Win December 12, 2015 UFC 194 Decision (unanimous)
Charles Oliveira Win August 23, 2015 UFC Fight Night: Holloway vs. Oliveira TKO (neck injury)
Cub Swanson Win April 18, 2015 UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold Submission (guillotine choke)
Cole Miller Win February 14, 2015 UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. Thatch Decision (unanimous)
Akira Corassani Win October 4, 2014 UFC Fight Night: Nelson vs. Story KO (punches)
Clay Collard Win August 23, 2014 UFC Fight Night: Henderson vs. dos Anjos TKO (punches)
Andre Fili Win April 26, 2014 UFC 172 Submission (guillotine choke)
Will Chope Win January 4, 2014 UFC Fight Night: Saffiedine vs. Lim TKO (punches)
Conor McGregor Loss August 17, 2013 UFC Fight Night: Shogun vs. Sonnen Decision (unanimous)
Dennis Bermudez Loss May 25, 2013 UFC 160 Decision (split)
Leonard Garcia Win December 29, 2012 UFC 155 Decision (split)
Justin Lawrence Win August 11, 2012 UFC 150 TKO (punches)
Pat Schilling Win June 1, 2012 The Ultimate Fighter: Live Finale Decision (unanimous)
Dustin Poirier Loss February 4, 2012 UFC 143 Submission (mounted triangle armbar)
Eddie Rincon Win July 1, 2011 UIC 4: War on the Valley Isle Decision (unanimous)
Harris Sarmiento Win March 12, 2011 X-1: Champions 3 Decision (split)
Bryson Kamaka Win November 6, 2010 X-1: Island Pride KO (punches)
Duke Saragosa Win September 11, 2010 X-1: Heroes Decision (unanimous)

 

Read about Max Holloway in our UFC round-up and his upcoming fights in our UFC previews. Follow him online via his Twitter and Instagram feeds. 

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