Ilia Topuria refuses Max Holloway fight unless the BMF title is on the line

On the 17th February UFC 298, a new king of the featherweight division was crowned as Ilia Topuria knocked out Alexander Volkanovski in the second round, ending his 4 year run as the featherweight champion. Topuria, on a 7 fight win streak, undefeated, in the UFC, ascended himself to new heights with this win over who many consider the featherweight GOAT. He hit superstar like status with his walkout onto the Santiago Bernabeu pitch to greet the Spanish fans with their first ever UFC champion. Dana White said after his fight “were going to Spain, if there’s a venue for us, we’ll be there”. The Santiago Bernabeu sounds about right to debut a UFC card there right?

It looked like the most likely match up would be the rematch with Volkanovski or a former #1 contender in Brian Ortega. However, that all changed on Sunday 14th April at 4.59 minutes in the 5th round when Max Holloway KO’d Justin Gaethje for the BMF title. A former king of the featherweights returned to the limelight with arguably the greatest KO in UFC history. A “Yall must’ve forgot” moment from Max Holloway. Reminding everybody that he is far from finished, which was the narrative as the Justin Gaethje fight drew closer. The camera pointed to an expressionless Topuria, as Max called him out on the mic to fight for the featherweight title.

All we needed now was a date and time. However, in the aftermath of UFC 300, Topuria has been very dismissive of Max Holloway stating on numerous occasions that he was not that impressed with his performance. Most recently on the FightCrack podcast Topuria stated “Im not going to fight him if he doesn’t put the BMF belt on the line”. The majority of the  MMA world believe that Max is clearly the guy to fight right now, the biggest superstar at this moment in time in the UFC, with the most viral, “holy s**t” moment in UFC history. Topuria’s star will only shine brighter if he takes this fight.

Daniel Cormier, has voiced his frustration about Topuria’s reluctance to welcome the Holloway fight by stating “But right now, it’s not coming off great, because he’s batting away all of these guys with no clear idea of who else there is.’

There has certainly been some smack talk between Topuria and Holloway which makes the match up even more enticing for the fans.

Topuria recently said on the social media platform X ‘You will have a worthy defeat against a champion who will be remembered for eternity. I decide who, when, and where. If you don’t like the terms I’m sure Ortega will oblige.’ Max jabbed back with ‘A ‘BMF’ fights whatever, fights whoever, whenever, any weight, any time, and that’s not a tone of a ‘BMF.’

Topuria does have a point that the BMF title should be defended and Max is getting the chance for two belts while Topuria has only a chance of 1. However, we know how the UFC works and this takes away from using the BMF title in a different PPV card further down the line. Whatever happens next, the UFC will decide but the fans know what they want and it is to see Topuria vs Holloway for the featherweight championship. Arguably the two best stand up strikers in the division right now, both coming off fresh from KO’s that shook the MMA world. Whatever happens, the UFC Featherweight division is the one MMA fans are watching right now.

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