What did Tua Tagovailoa's championship game heroics mean to the people of Hawaii?
UFC champ Max Holloway -- one of Hawaii's biggest sports stars -- told us it was "HUGE" ... and says the 'Bama QB should expect the VIP treatment when he comes home.
"Hawaii has a lot of pride," Max told TMZ Sports. "A parade is probably gonna happen down here and it’s gonna be insane."
But Max says the best is yet to come for Tua -- and even compared him to an NFL legend!
Speaking of 'Bama heroes, we also talked to Eryk Anders -- a linebacker-turned-UFC fighter who sealed the 2009 title game for the Tide -- and he couldn't say enough good things about Nick Saban AND Kirby Smart!!