Max Holloway confirms Justin Gaethje should’ve been credited for UFC 300 knockdown: ‘That’s some bullsh*t’

Max Holloway is proud of his place in the UFC history books, so he doesn’t think his story needs embellishing.

One incredible stat is that Holloway has never been knocked down in 29 appearances for the promotion. Holloway out-struck and put down the feared Justin Gaethje at UFC 300, and has also thrown hands with the likes of Alexander Volkanovski, Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Yair Rodriguez, Jeremy Stephens, and several other fighters known for their ferocious knockouts.

None of those names have been able to make Holloway touch canvas. Or so it seems.

A hard shot from Gaethje in Round 4 appeared to take Holloway off his feet momentarily, but according to the official stats, it was not registered a knockdown. ESPN later tweeted that Holloway’s unblemished record of resilience remained intact.

But Holloway disputes the accounting of the fight, and wants to give Gaethje his due.

“It didn’t count as a drop, which is crazy,” Holloway said on The Joe Rogan Experience. “ESPN is posting and saying in however many fights I’m with the UFC, I still didn’t get dropped. That’s some bullshit. Give Justin that one. I’ll take it, but I wouldn’t be a man sitting here and telling you that he didn’t.

“All I remember is getting hit by that punch, and then I sat, and then I came back up. I was like, ‘What the f*ck did he just hit me with? Holy shit. That was a good punch.’ Then when I rewatched it, he hit me right on the top of my dome. I was like, holy smack, brother, this guy smacks. I was fine as soon as I got up, but it was one of those, boom, the legs just give out. I was there, even when I was standing, I was looking at him, but I don’t know how that didn’t count as a drop. I don’t know what they count as a drop, because that was crazy.”

Gaethje was a popular pick to defeat Holloway and defend his “BMF” belt, but Holloway put on an incredible performance capped off by a knockout in the final seconds that will go down as one of the greatest finishes in combat sports history.

At age 32, Holloway has rarely spoken of retirement, and in the past decade, his only losses have come against Volkanovski and Poirier. So while he understands why people might doubt him, he’s still surprised that so many were counting him out at UFC 300.

“I’ve been fighting since I was 20 and I fought a who’s who in my division,” Holloway said. “Especially with the Volk fights, the first two fights was alright, and the third fight is what made everybody go, ‘He’s done for.’ I’m like, that was just Volk’s night. He was on. Everybody’s like, ‘Look at Max. Volk just did this.’

“And now they’re doing MMA Math because Ilia [Topuria] did that to Volk, and even Ilia is doing MMA Math: ‘I beat a guy that beat you.’ I’m like, ‘Brother, this is not how it works.’ I lost to Dustin, Dustin just got knocked out from Justin, and now can I say I beat Dustin now [because I beat Gaethje]? No. Styles make fights.”

Holloway vs. Gaethje was a perfect stylistic matchup on paper and it played out accordingly. The fan-favorite strikers laid into each other for four rounds, with Holloway a step ahead on the feet and up three rounds to one on the official scorecards.

It was in the closing moments that Holloway put his legendary chin to the test, and as he has so many times in the past, he came out on top.

“A lot of people are asking me, ‘What’s going through your mind when you’re doing that? You’re up 4-1,’” Holloway said. “I’m like, ‘That was in my mind the whole time. We’re going to 10 seconds.’ I remember it being a minute. I remember my coach yelling, ‘A minute, Max! Stay clean!’ I was like, ‘Hell yeah, 50 more seconds until we go to the center and we’re going to swing.’ He’s like, ‘40 seconds!’ I’m like, ‘Holy shit, this clock is slow. Why is it taking forever?’ He’s counting down, ‘30 seconds.’ Then he’s like, ‘OK, 20 seconds.’

“Right after the 20-second mark, a couple of seconds after, [Gaethje] does his rolling thunder. It pushed me to the point of perfectly circling out and then that’s when I said, ‘Come here. Let’s go here. Let’s throw it.’ Everybody was losing their mind, but to me, this is normal. This is the second time I did it. Of course, the second time I’m doing it, I heard you guys say, ‘The first time was Ricardo, but he ain’t no Justin Gaethje.’ But why not? Why not? If he was to put me out, then so be it. Live by the sword.”