UFC champ Max Holloway says Kobe Bryant has shown him the killer instinct it takes to be great ... crediting Mamba Mentality for his ass-kicking inside the Octagon.
"When Kobe is in Mamba mode he's an animal," Max told TMZ Sports. "He doesn't care about winning one time ... he'll play you 100 times just to make a point -- you suck, I'm the greatest."
It’s a mindset Max says helped him SMASH Jose Aldo in their rematch last weekend ... and one he plans to continue using to become the next big thing -- like a Kobe, LeBron, Tiger or Serena.
“These guys that I named -- they outgrow their sports."
Kobe’s actually a HUGE fan of one of Max’s biggest rivals -- but we got a feeling the Mamba can get down with the "Blessed Era,” too.