Max Holloway rid the word ‘interim’ from his official title on Saturday night, battering Jose Aldo to a third-round stoppage defeat in Rio de Janeiro to become the UFC featherweight champion.
In the process, Holloway became only the second fighter from Hawaii, after MMA legend B.J. Penn, to grasp an undisputed UFC title.
However, upon his arrival back home on Monday, Holloway was greeted with a reception so warm and jubilant that he said it surpassed even the events of Saturday night.
“I can’t put it into words. I can’t explain it,” Holloway told Hawaii News Now. “Winning a belt is cool, but coming home to this… This belt is whatever compared to this kind of (reception).”
Arriving at Honolulu airport with teammate Yancy Medeiros, who scored a big win of his own over Erick Silva on Saturday night, Holloway was welcomed by crowds of screaming fans and local media desperate to get a glimpse at the man of the hour.
— UFC (@ufc) June 6, 2017
From there, the new 145-pound king made his way to Waianae, his hometown, where an even crazier and more ecstatic scene awaited him.
Even before he bested the great Aldo, Holloway had been calling for the UFC to make a first trip to Hawaii and his campaign only intensified thereafter.
Only hours after he was mobbed by passionate fans in Waianae, a town with a population of just 13,177 according to the 2010 census, Holloway posted further footage captured during his homecoming. The video was accompanied by the hashtag “ufchawaii”.
This man isn’t going to give up.