Ilia Topuria demands Max Holloway put his BMF belt on the line in proposed UFC featherweight title fight

Ilia Topuria demands Max Holloway put his BMF belt on the line in proposed featherweight title fight

If it’s not for the BMF title, Ilia Topuria has no interest in fighting Max Holloway.

‘Blessed’ delivered one of the greatest knockouts in UFC history at the promotion’s landmark event in Las Vegas over the weekend, dispatching lightweight fan favorite Justin Gaethje with a booming overhand right to claim the bragging rights belt.

Max Holloway KOs Justin Gaethje

Needless to say, Holloway’s insane buzzer-beater sent the 20,000 fans inside T-Mobile Arena into an absolute frenzy. Well, everyone except Topuria who looked like he’d just seen a ghost who introduced him to his future.

Ilia Topuria reacts to Holloway's KO

Immediately following the victory, fans flocked to social media demanding that Max Holloway be the first man to challenge Ilia Topuria for the featherweight title.

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During an appearance on The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Topuria was open to the idea of fighting Holloway — a complete 180 from where he stood two months ago — but only on the condition that ‘Blessed’ puts his new belt up for grabs.

“Without the BMF belt [on the line], I don’t want him at all,” Topuria said. “If not, I’m gonna fight with Volk who deserves more than him, the rematch. 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. I’m the champion right now, I choose the date, I choose the place. He just has to be ready and wait for the call. Whenever I want him, he has to be ready.”

Ilia Topuria

A chance to win the BMF title has Ilia Topuria Changing his tune

Sitting on a perfect 15-0 record in MMA, ‘El Matador’ is only eight weeks removed from his stunning second-round knockout of Alexander Volkanvoski to claim the 145-pound crown at UFC 298. Even before winning the title, Topuria made it clear that he would “never” defend the belt against some of the division’s biggest names.

“Max, Yair (Rodriguez), Brian Ortega, all of them, they can go and retire. I’m never going to give them the chance to fight for the title – never,” he said in a prior interview with Helwani.

With something more to gain, it appears that Ilia Topuria has reversed his statement — at least when it comes to Holloway.

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