Over the last seven years of his career, Max Holloway has managed to rise above the rest of the UFC’s featherweight division. And just by looking at his body of work, you will see what sets him apart from the rest of his fellow elite 145-pounders.
You can point to his specific abilities or overall fighting style as the keys for the “Blessed” one’s success. But as Holloway himself told Joe Rogan in a recent episode of the JRE MMA show, there’s one unique trait that breeds champions.
“On paper, you put down my stats, no one’s gonna pick me in a fight,” Holloway said. “‘What the f—k is this guy? F—ng next!’ But then, there’s that mental part and that heart part that you can’t measure. And that’s that ‘Crazy Land’ part. People don’t know what the f—k ‘Crazy Land’ is.
“If they see this guy, like, ‘Oh, OK, he got a passport to Crazy Land, but these are his stats, out of then, like threes.’ And this is the guy (he’s fighting), he’s got all nines, maybe a couple of tens in there, but he don’t have a passport to Crazy Land. Like, ‘F—k Crazy Land, this guy is great!’
“And then you go in there and find out that most of the time, the guys with the passport to Crazy Land, they’re crazy. They figure it out.”
Holloway is well aware of the fact that many of his peers hold the advantage over him. But as he told fellow fighters and training partners, it’s having that proper mindset that puts success within reach.
“There comes a point where like you’re pretty much good. Everything gets you by, you got here already. But now, the only thing different that’s gonna get you to the top 15 is mental,” Holloway explained.
“And then from 15 to 10, the only difference between those guys is mental. And then from ten to five, same thing. And then from champion and everybody else, it’s a mentality thing. This has something to do with IQ. That’s the only thing that changed.
“We’re all good. We’re all at the mecca of fighting. The UFC is where everybody wants to be. But what makes me a champion and you not? Something’s got to be it. You can lift more weights than me. If we’re the same weight class, you’re stronger than me, you’re faster than me. What is the difference?
“I believe it’s that passport to Crazy Land, it’s that mental. I’m willing to do something that I don’t know if you even thought of doing, or if it’s presented to you, if you’re gonna take that chance.”