UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway at the UFC 223 news...

UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway at the UFC 223 news conference at Music Hall of Williamsburg in Brooklyn on April 4, 2018. Credit: Mark La Monica

Those $50,000 bonus checks are nice, for sure, but Max Holloway has a clear preference of which words should go in the memo line.

“I don’t want ‘Fight of the Night,” the reigning UFC featherweight champion said.

Why not be recognized as one half of an exciting fight that left that most indelible mark on the fight card and the fight fans and the fight executives watching?

“That means this guy’s my equal,” Holloway said. “I want performance of the night. I want to be like, ‘This guy doesn’t belong in there with you.’”

Will there be a post-fight bonus in the works for Holloway after UFC 236 on Saturday when he faces Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight title? Recent history suggests it’s likely.

Holloway won both Fight of the Night and Performance of the Night at UFC 231 last December when he beat Brian Ortega via technical knockout (doctor’s stoppage) after the fourth round. In Holloway’s last four fights, he was two POTN bonuses and two FOTN bonuses.

Poirier won Performance of the Night in his last bout against Eddie Alvarez and had back-to-back Fight of the Night honors before that in wins over Justin Gaethje and Anthony Pettis.

Perhaps the most unique part of Holloway’s performance against Ortega came in the fourth round when he appeared to help Ortega defend himself. Two minutes into the fourth round in what was a very one-sided fight already in favor of the champion, Holloway connected on a few punches and then seemed to pause for a moment. He grabbed Ortega’s wrists and moved his hands up toward his head, seemingly to help explain how to defend against his punches.

“I hit him with two right hands, I grabbed his wrists, I put his hands up right by him and then I tried to throw a left hook and he blocked it,” Holloway said. “And I was like, there you go, exactly what we’re supposed to be doing here.”

This is not a common thing to see in the octagon, be it from the 27-year-old Hawaiian or anyone else. At the mere mention of “the Ortega fight,” Holloway and his manager started laughing. They knew what was coming.

“I’m not a normal person,” Holloway said. “A normal person doesn’t like getting punched in the face. A normal person doesn’t like going to the gym and having another sweaty man or woman all over him. It’s disgusting. This sport is kinda disgusting. But it’s the sport made for me. I think I was put on this earth to fight and that’s what I do. We’re just cut from a different cloth.”

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