Calvin Kattar isn’t going to try to talk himself into a title fight. But if UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski really wants to face the best contenders in the division, he’s ready for the challenge.
Following a unanimous decision win over Dan Ige in the UFC on ESPN 13 main event, the Massachusetts native was quick to throw his name into the hat as a possible challenger for the 145-pound title.
This past Saturday, Volkanovski successfully defended his belt for the first time with a win over former champion Max Holloway and he made it clear afterward that his goal is to clean out the top fighters in the world in his weight class.
Kattar has never been big on trash talking, and he’s not about to start now, which is why his message to Volkanovski was crystal clear.
“I mean if I make my case, I don’t got to do it with my mouth,” Kattar said at the UFC on ESPN 13 post fight press conference. “I do it in the cage. Like all these other guys, they all talk. Where I’m from, we don’t really talk about stuff too much. You go out and prove it. You earn it. In here, that’s not really the business model, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment for me. I go out, I fight, and I try to earn every opportunity in front of me.
“The champ should see that. He’s saying he wants contenders. You’re not going to find one more ready than myself.”
While jumping around weight classes has become all the rage these days as champions seek to win titles in multiple divisions, Volkanovski is committed to featherweight and the fighters gunning for his title.
Kattar absolutely respects that about him, which is why he feels like there’s a legitimate chance a title shot might come his way next.
“I respect his mindset as the champ,” Kattar said. “He says he wants contenders. He’s not trying to jump around other weight classes like everybody’s doing nowadays, which not hating on them either. Two belts sounds real nice. But I respect the fact that he wants to go out and fight the contenders in his weight class and he’s got one in me.
“He wants to earn it. I think we’re similar in that fact. I think it would be a good opportunity to go out and compete against him. I proved I can go five rounds. I just want more big moment opportunities. I’m ready for five round fights and main events.”
Kattar can’t be sure that he got Volkanovski’s attention after his win on Wednesday night. But with four wins in his past five fights, Kattar feels like he’s proven he belongs in the upper echelon of the featherweight division and it’s only a matter of time before he’s knocking on the door of title contention.
“I know I’m on these guys’ radar,” Kattar said. “I’m a problem to deal with, and they’re all starting to realize they’re going to have to deal with me soon.
“I keep winning, they can’t deny me. That was my mindset getting into the UFC. I didn’t ask to get in the UFC. I just said if I keep winning, they won’t deny me. They can’t deny me. There’s nothing they can do if you keep winning. That’s what I’m doing right now. If they don’t want to give me a title shot now, go out, get another win. They can’t keep denying me forever. Hopefully top five after this fight and that’s a short list.”
Outside of Holloway, who just fought for the title this past weekend, no other contender ranked in the top five at featherweight has competed in 2020. Meanwhile, Kattar is 2-0 this year, and he believes Volkanovski should take notice.
“Who’s my competition?” Kattar said. “No one’s been busy in 2020. I think I’m doing well for myself competing, earning opportunities and I can’t really say much for everybody else in the division.”