Max Holloway was always a BMF, even before winning the belt at UFC 300

that That’s how you earn the BMF belt.

During the match, the timekeeper sounded a cracker indicating 10 seconds left in the round. Max Holloway outmaneuvered Justin Gaethje for the majority of the last 24 minutes and 50 seconds of the match and walked towards the center of the cage.

Former UFC featherweight champion Holloway points to the energy drink can depicted in the center of the octagon. The meaning is clear. Now, here, we’re going to throw down. Gaethje, aptly nicknamed “Highlight,” knows nothing but to obey.

Max Holloway celebrates after knocking out Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 at T-Mobile Arena. USA TODAY Sports (via Reuters Con)

In fact, Holloway doesn’t need to do this. Everyone watching knew Holloway could have taken a 10-second victory lap and cruised to an obviously violent decision victory.

But that’s not how BMF works.

Fists fly wild, rookie Holloway flaps from side to side recklessly, and Gaethje, whose nose was broken in a nasty kick more than 20 minutes earlier, does everything in his power to steal the victory.

Gaethje lasts 9 seconds. Not 10.

Holloway landed a cracking overhand right that sent the former interim UFC lightweight champion to the canvas, leaving him sprawled on a monster can.

Holloway was a true monster Saturday night, entertaining the crowd during the mega-event UFC 300 in Las Vegas, capitalizing on the confidence placed in both him and Gaethje.

There’s no prestige attached to the BMF belt that Gaethje is betting on. Honestly, it’s stupid and a little annoying when you say it out loud. Back at UFC 244 in 2019, the UFC was without a marquee divisional championship fight at Madison Square Garden. Solution: Create a belt and pit a pair of star-level journeymen in Jorge Masvidal and Nate Diaz against each other.

It was intended to be a one-off, and Masvidal never actually put the belt on the line. Once he moved on, the idea of ​​a new BMF belt had enough tenacity that, yes, another BMF belt appeared. A matchup between Gaethje and fellow former interim 155-pound titleholder Dustin Poirier made sense. A six-minute cage fight justified this matchup.

But in reality, such a fight didn’t need symbolic trinkets like a big goofy letter taken out of Jules Winfield’s wallet. In “Pulp Fiction,” like Fonzie, it was much cooler.

Max Holloway poses with his BMF belt. Zuffa LLC (via Getty Images)

Every fight Holloway fights is a BMF fight.

Every fight Gaethje takes is a BMF fight.

For that to be true, neither of us needs a belt, and we don’t need to protect that belt. These two are among the most violent, all-comer fighters in UFC history, and have elite skills to match.

That’s why it doesn’t matter who stands toe-to-toe at the end of an action-packed fight — even Holloway wasn’t convinced he was on top of the two judges’ scorecards through all four rounds. But it was in a good position near the end of another strong frame that I had to know I was in.

Justin Gaethje lies on the canvas after being knocked out with one second left in his fight with Max Holloway. Zuffa LLC (via Getty Images)

Was Holloway, who could be looking to win another featherweight title with a win up the division, foolish to take on such a big chance against the Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots? Ah, that’s right.

Does Holloway, the pride of Hawaii, know a different way to fight? No, he isn’t.

That’s why he is BMF. Trophies don’t matter.