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Ilia Topuria Not Interested in Facing Max Holloway Without BMF Title at Stake



Ilia Topuria believes there are more deserving candidates for a featherweight title shot if Max Holloway doesn’t put his BMF title on the line.

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Holloway captured the BMF title with a fifth-round knockout win over Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 last month. Topuria called out Holloway immediately afterward, offering him a featherweight title shot in exchange for an opportunity to win the BMF belt. “Blessed” hasn’t yet firmly responded to Topuria’s callout, dismissing it as an “angry girlfriend text.”

Topuria believes it is unfair for Holloway to receive a featherweight title shot without putting his BMF title on the line. According to Topuria, Holloway is hesitant because he wants to remain the BMF champ even if he loses a potential featherweight title fight.

“You are the BMF champ, you have the opportunity for the title, to fight for the title,” Topuria said on the Webpositer podcast. “What are you going to do? Are you going to fight or are you not going to fight? And he says, ‘Sign the contract,’ this, that, such and such. Where are you? Where are you? Put the belt in the game. What I said was how I’m not going to fight him if he doesn’t put the BMF belt on the line. And [Holloway] was like, that’s not the way a real BMF claims the title. You want me to come and put this belt on the table and you don’t want to put yours? That is, if you lose, you want to continue being the BMF. How does this work? I mean what BMF are you?”

Topuria insists that Holloway’s BMF strap is the only thing that makes the former champ relevant in the 145-pound title picture. Without that, Topuria would much rather fight Alexander Volkanovski, whom he dethroned via a knockout at UFC 298 in February, or featherweight contender Brian Ortega. Topuria noted that “T-City,” who is coming off a submission win over Yair Rodriguez, was a much bigger threat to Volkanovski during their UFC 266 title fight, than Holloway was in their entire trilogy.

“If [the BMF belt] is not on the line, the only thing that makes it relevant, I would first give Volkanovski the opportunity for a rematch," said Topuria. "Before that I would fight Brian Ortega, who was much closer to finishing Volkanovski in one fight than Max did in three. [Ortega] always puts his face in there and he fights. He has won his last fight. He has several good victories.”

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