Alexander Volkanovski wishes he was fighting in the UFC 240 main event this weekend but rather than sulk about a missed opportunity, he’s going to put himself front and center to challenge the winner of Max Holloway vs. Frankie Edgar.
Coming off a win over former champion Jose Aldo in his last outing, Volkanovski seemed like the obvious choice to fight for the featherweight title next but a week long hospital stay to treat a blood infection following that fight put him out of action instead.
While the former rugby player is back to 100-percent health now, the UFC opted to make the fight between Holloway and Edgar in the interim but Volkanovski plans on sitting Octagon side on Saturday night to remind the winner who awaits them.
“This sport can be very unforgiving. I need to stay on everyone’s mind,” Volkanovski told MMA Fighting. “People will forget you real quick so the last thing I want to do is sit on the sidelines and think to myself ‘oh I’m definitely going to get the next shot’ then something happens and someone else f—king squeezes in.
“I’m looking to put myself in that position. I’ll be fight ready. I’ll let everyone know I’m next. I’ll be ringside so if anything happens I don’t want anyone squeezing into that title fight. I will be there ready. If someone gets injured, I’ll take that. If not, I’ll start promoting the fight and keep myself out there.”
It doesn’t matter much to Volkanovski who wins the main event so long as he gets the winner, although he admits it would mean more to dethrone a multi-time defending champion like Holloway.
As one of only three fighters in UFC history (alongside Holloway and Conor McGregor) to hand Aldo a loss, Volkanovski has already started to build a rather impressive resume and adding the current champion to his win column would be a huge feather in his cap.
“Obviously, I want that belt. I’d probably prefer Max to win just because I’m taking out some of the biggest names in this division and if you go Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo and then Max Holloway, then all of a sudden you’re one of the best featherweights yourself,” Volkanovski said. “I’m not really the type to say ‘I’m fighting for my legacy’ but you do stuff like that, you’re serious and you’re making serious money and again I do this for my family.
“To be successful in that, that means money and that’s money for my family. I’m willing to do what I need to do to bring that money back.”
When it comes to his prediction, Volkanovski believes Edgar will give Holloway a tougher fight than perhaps many expect when they clash on Saturday night.
Volkanovski knows that Edgar fights with a ton of heart and he’s not going to go away just because Holloway puts pressure on him for five consecutive rounds.
“I’ll say Max [wins]. He is very durable and stuff, so I’m not expecting Frankie to get any knockouts but it’s going to be a competitive fight I guarantee,” Volkanovski said. “Obviously, Frankie’s not getting any younger and you can’t expect him to still be in his prime but if he hasn’t fallen off the edge too much, he’s going to give Max problems.
“These are things Max hasn’t really dealt with. Someone that can handle his pace, someone who loves being in there, you fight with volume coming at him, [Frankie] is very comfortable in there and then he’s got the takedowns to back it up. If Max is coming a little too strong, [Frankie’s] instincts are always going to be there to shoot. He’s always got that the threaten Max. He’s got that to slow Max down.”
While he believes Holloway will get the job done, Volkanovski feels Edgar will stick around for 25 minutes to give him plenty of headaches.
If that happens, Volkanovski promises Holloway will be in for a rude awakening when they finally get the chance to face off in the Octagon.
“I’m guaranteeing you if we still get a decent Frankie Edgar, he’s going to make it a good fight,” Volkanovski stated.
“As I’ve told everyone, if Frankie gives Max Holloway problems, I’m going to be an absolute nightmare for Max.”