On To The Next One: Cub Swanson Is Next for Max Holloway

Fightland Blog

By Sascha Matuszak

Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC

The beauty of the Broomfield card was without question watching Benson Henderson drag Brandon Thatch deep into the swamps and choke him out by the mangrove tree under the pale moonlight. But right up there on the list was Max Holloway’s head, heart and hands bullying Cole Miller for three rounds.

In the fight last Saturday, Max didn’t have any mercy for Cole, especially after the headbutt, and here’s why: if the same thing happened to Max, he’d have wiped the blood off, put on his hard face, and made dude pay for the headbutt, intentional or not. That’s really the only way to deal with nutshots and headbutts and eyepokes—any other reaction just seems to be the seal of doom.

It was a good fight to watch, mostly due to Holloway’s growing confidence as the fight went on, leading to some great combinations and a few flashy strikes. He’s become a fan favorite over the last year and a half, because he is a methodical striker with a few ninja moves, he’s always down to scrap, he’s on a five-fight winning streak and every time he’s interviewed he gives respect to God, his opponent, and the fight game in general.

Additionally, he spends most of his social media time talking about all the food he can’t eat, his wife and kids, and how blessed he is that both God and Hawai’i have his back. The two personas mesh pretty well in the fan’s mind: a tough Hawaiian scrapper and the religious family man with a weakness for Twinkies. Then there’s the fact that dude looks positively goofy sometimes, grinning wide from underneath a flat brim cap, barely filling his clothes, a fighter’s nose and his ears sticking out. What’s not to love?

In nine weeks Holloway will face off with another fan favorite, Cub Swanson, the man who brings “beautiful destruction” to the ring via polyrhythmic striking and improvisational stances. Holloway had the fight foisted upon him seconds after having his hand raised in the Octagon, but there wasn’t any hesitation. Holloway elaborated later at the post fight press conference:

“When the UFC gives you a fight, you say yes, you know, even if in your mind you’re saying no, you say yes, because if you say no you’re gonna be away for a long time...”

This is a fight no one quite expected, but as soon as it was announced, seemed like the no brainer clash between a streaking, popular striker fresh off of a win and a beautiful, popular striker fresh off of a beating. Cub is known for being an unpredictable fighter. He purposely goes off balance to set up hooks, high kicks in close off of body shots, and his movement alone hypnotizes like Kaa from the Jungle Book .

Holloway is just as dangerous, but in a more methodical, less jazzy way. His striking style is a different type of snake, quick and biting, but no less ninja. There will be a lot of hype coming into this match-up, so look for complete breakdowns in the week leading up to a showdown between two of mot popular strikers in the UFC, or has Holloway put it the other night:

“His ninja style versus my ninja style should be a great ninja fight... I can’t wait.”


Check out these related stories:

Quick Results: Fight Night Broomfield

Another Litmus Test for Max Holloway

Max Holloway Is Ready to Take Flight