Topuria Issues Conditions for Holloway Fight, BMF Champ Responds

Ilia Topuria UFC
Ilia Topuria following UFC 298. Photo: Jeronimo Guerra/UNLV

Ilia Topuria is making demands ahead of a potential fight with Max Holloway later this year.

The showdown between two of the world’s best featherweights aligned when Topuria toppled Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 in February, while Holloway defeated Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 this month in an all-time great KO.

With Hawaii’s “Blessed” having won three straight and reigning as the new “BMF” champion, as Holloway put it, he has options. That includes defending the BMF belt, or  pursuing lightweight gold. Holloway, however, appears to have his heart set on a run at his old 145lbs title, held by Topuria.

And while “El Matador” is interested, he has some demands.

“There are a lot of things involved in this fight,” Topuria said on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani recently. “He’s got that belt, that Bad Motherf*cker belt, so I’m excited to add that to my legacy, too. UFC Champion, the Baddest Motherf*cker, what else? And then maybe I’ll go for a second weight class.”

The belt appears central to Topuria’s willingness to accept the fight, however. “Without the BMF belt, I don’t want him at all,” Topuria went on to say. “If not, I’m going to fight with [Volkanovski] for the rematch. But because he has that belt, I’m excited about that. That’s why I want him. He’s been saying, ‘Right now I have a lot of options.’ He doesn’t have any options. Right now I’m the champion. I choose the date, I choose the place. He just has to be ready and he has to wait for the call. Whenever I want him, he has to be ready.”

While the date remains to be seen, talk of the place has centered around Spain, where the German-born Georgian resides. It remains to be see if the UFC will indeed make their debut in the country this year, but if they were, you could do worse than Topuria vs. Holloway (not that Topuria vs. Volkanovski would be a hard sell either).

Max Holloway, however, had his own response to Topuria’s demands. Speaking with Jim Rome on Wednesday, Holloway noted that “That’s not a very ‘BMF’ way to say it,” adding “A ‘BMF’ wouldn’t say, ‘I’m not going to fight this guy unless—’ That’s kind of un—‘BMF.’ Doesn’t sound ‘BMF’ the way he’s trying to demand it and saying, ‘I’m not going to fight.’”

“A ‘BMF’ fights whatever, fights whoever, whenever, any weight, any time, and that’s not a tone of a ‘BMF.’”

Max Holloway, however, appears more than happy to tango with Topuria, while still pursuing a fourth fight with Volkanovski.