Hundreds of fans turned out in full force to welcome home UFC fighters Max Holloway and Yancy Medeiros fresh off their UFC 212 victories.
Holloway defeated Jose Aldo in a third-round TKO to claim the featherweight championship outright and extend his winning streak to a legendary 11 fights dating back to 2014.
Medeiros defeated opponent Erick Silva in a second-round TKO victory. He is now 2-0 as a UFC welterweight with a 14-4-1 career record.
A special area was sectioned off at the baggage claim of Daniel K. Inouye International Airport Monday to accommodate the massive crowd.
The fighters were escorted off the plane and to a special area to receive lei, and exchange hugs and handshakes with supporters.
KHON2 spotted the University of Hawaii Rainbow Warrior football team, as well as UFC representatives.
So what was going through Holloway’s mind following his victory?
“I was like ‘Don’t cry, Max, you’re a fighter. You’re a fighter, Max, don’t cry,'” he said with a smile.
But what was arguably even better than the belt itself, Holloway said, was the overwhelming support that met him upon his return to Hawaii.
“It’s just great. I can’t put it into words,” Holloway said.
“I seen the pictures and the tweets, I started getting anxiety, like more than my fight,” said Medeiros, “but I appreciate the support. I love what I do and I do it for Hawaii, represent, and try to give motivation to anybody I can, be a positive aspect and send some good vibes out there.”
The fighters then made their way to Waianae, where another homecoming took place along Farrington Highway.
Both are vocal about their desire to see a UFC fight here in the islands. As Holloway mentioned post-fight Sunday, “I know a place, a stadium. It’s very nice.”
KHON2’s Rob DeMello previously reported that UFC management is “very interested” in local response, and Monday’s turnout could play a role in whether or not an event is held in the Aloha State.
“They said they want to do it. They said just keep doing what I’m doing,” Holloway said. “We have a meeting with him here in July, definitely UFC Hawaii better happen. I mean, just look at this (crowd).”
“Bring it to my home, please. Give back to my supporters,” Medeiros said. “All these fans out here, my family, I mean I’d love to fight in UFC and bring it home.”
The UFC had no official comment regarding a future Hawaii event.