Max Holloway's rise through the UFC featherweight ranks culminated with a TKO victory over Jose Aldo as he became the undisputed 145-pound champion at UFC 212 in Rio de Janeiro on Saturday.
The UFC showed Holloway's knockdown of Aldo in the third round:
OHHHHHHHHHHH @BlessedMMA DROPS ALDO IN ROUND 3!!!!! #UFC212 https://t.co/jCRYvEuHSo2017-6-4 04:26:14
And his satisfaction after earning the win:
WE HAVE A NEW UNDISPUTED FEATHERWEIGHT CHAMPION!! @BlessedMMA FINISHES Aldo!! #UFC212 https://t.co/PxyWYqhbVj2017-6-4 04:28:35
When Holloway first arrived in UFC in 2012, he was learning the challenges of facing competition in the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. The Hawaii native went 3-3 in his first six UFC fights.
After losing to Conor McGregor in August 2013, however, Holloway put everything together. He's won each of his last 11 fights, including defeating Anthony Pettis at UFC 206 to win the UFC interim featherweight title.
Holloway has carried that chip on his shoulder from that brief early lull in his career to help him reach this point.
"I told people for years, but very few people actually listened," Holloway told FloCombat's Duane Finley. "Now I'm here, and I have everyone's attention. That's how things go in this sport. Actions speak louder than words, and I'm going to let my fighting do the talking."
Youth was another possible reason Holloway went through that hiccup. He was signed to UFC at 20 years old, making his debut against Dustin Poirier as an injury replacement for Ricardo Lamas.
Now, Holloway is just 25 years old. He's defeated Aldo—who has been one of the most dominant mixed martial arts fighters for the last decade with just one loss since 2006 prior to Saturday—and is the undisputed featherweight champion for the first time in his career.