3 possible next opponents for Max Holloway

Here's who we think Max Holloway should fight next after insane knockout of Justin Gaethje.
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Max Holloway (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Justin
Apr 13, 2024; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Max Holloway (blue gloves) reacts after defeating Justin / Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
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Max Holloway (26-7) is doubtlessly the UFC's undisputed BMF champion after knocking out Justin Gaethje (25-5) in the last second of their championship classic at UFC 300. The former two-time featherweight champion passed his lightweight challenge in the most stellar possible way. Holloway added another accolade to his growing list, and there seems to be no slowing down for the 32-year-old.

Holloway's UFC 300 win gives him three straight victories, as he previously beat Arnold Allen (19-3) and Chan Sung-Jung (17-8) coming into his Gaethje fight. Recent success leaves Holloway blessed with numerous options as far as choosing his next opponent is concerned. He could move back down to featherweight and challenge incumbent champion Ilia Topuria (15-0), or maybe his home is lightweight, and a fight with Islam Makhachev (25-1) will materialize.

The good news is that Holloway always seems apt to take on any challenge. Fans expect action when Holloway takes the center of the Octagon, and he finds a way to deliver against anyone he's matched with. Let's examine three possible opponents that make the most sense as Holloway's next foe while he continues his legendary UFC run.

1. Ilia Topuria

Topuria versus Holloway is the fight to make at featherweight. Of course, Alexander Volkanovski deserves an eventual rematch with Topuria, but scheduling may not be on his side as he heals from back-to-back brutal knockout losses. Topuria needs a title challenger in the meantime, and who has impressed more to earn a shot than Holloway?

Both men are phenomenal strikers. Holloway attacks at a high volume, and his offensive array is far more diverse than Topuria's. Holloway incorporates unorthodox spinning attacks and more kicks than the champion, Topuria. However, Topuria packs a lot of power, technical boxing ability, and a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt to support his power wrestling. A fight between the two has tremendous potential to display the very best of what MMA could offer.

Holloway capitalized on his UFC 300 post-fight interview with Joe Rogan and demanded a title opportunity against Topuria. He said, "There's a 'El Matador'! He is running away from the bull at 145. Tell him, 'sign the damn contract.'"

Topuria seems interested in a potential matchup with Holloway as he said, "It's clear for me my next fight is Holloway," to ESPN Deportes reporter Carlos Contreras Legaspi shortly after UFC 300. Both men calling for and seeming willing to take each other on is a crucial first step in materializing a fight of this magnitude.

This signals a change in rhetoric for Topuria, who previously seemed unwilling to accept fights from the old featherweight guard. He said, "It's time for the new generation to have new challenges. New faces," in his UFC 298 post-fight press conference after winning the title. Later, in response to a question about Holloway, Topuria responded, "Max Holloway, no. All of them they don't make any sense for me right now."

Uncertainty shrouds the scheduling of this possible fight, but it's exciting knowing Holloway and Topuria seem to be on the same page concerning the fact they must eventually match up.