Two weeks ago, at UFC 251, Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his title with a split decision win over former champion Max Holloway. As many split decisions are, the win was controversial, with a number of fans, media members, and even Dana White believing Holloway had done enough to reclaim the featherweight title. Controversial or not though, Volkanovski is now officially 2-0 versus Holloway and the featherweight champion is not looking to make it 3-0 anytime soon.
Speaking with ESPN recently, Volkanovski discussed the hard-fought win over Holloway and shot down the idea that the two men run it back for a third time.
“At this point, right now, it doesn’t make sense,” Volkanovski said. “To win back to back, I did say (that I wanted to beat him decisively), obviously leading up to the fight, trying to hype the fight up, but we all know Max is durable. So we’re well aware that taking him out is difficult to do. But at the same time, the majority of the rounds out of the two fights clearly show that I won seven or eight of them. Again, very competitive rounds so you’ve got to give credit to Max but at the same time, winning two back to back, it would be silly to do a rematch.”
That’s not so say that Volkanovski is opposed to ever facing Holloway again. After spending 50 minutes in a cage with “Blessed” he wants to face other challengers, but if Holloway keeps beating other top guys, Volkanovski says he’d happily greet him a third time.
“I said as soon as I got the belt, I want number one contenders,” Volkanovksi said. “I want the guys that are next in line. So if Max takes a few guys out and there is no one else left and it’s him, he’s that number one guy, I’ll take that fight. Again, that’s what I want to do. I’m an easy champion to understand. I want number one contenders, plain and simple. No beating around the bush. Give me the guys that are next in line, the guys that deserve it, and let’s go.”
The problem being for Volkanovski, at least right now, is that there are not any clear-cut number one contenders. Featherweight is one of the deepest and most exciting divisions in MMA, and as such, there are a number of viable options but no one that stands head and shoulders above the other contenders. That being said, there are a couple of fights on the horizon that Volkanovski has circled as likely producing his next test.
“Look, there’s a couple of guys that their names are getting thrown around a fair bit,” Volkanovski said. “You’ve got (Chan Sung Jung, the Korean) Zombie and Zabit Magomedsharipov. I think they’re pretty big fights but again, they’re both probably just one fight away from getting that title shot. I’ve heard Zabit’s planned to fight Yair Rodriguez and Zombie is planning on fighting Brian Ortega. They are two massive fights. Whoever wins them and wins in wild fashion, I’m sure everyone will be screaming their name. Everyone is gonna be saying, ‘That’s the guy.’ Everyone is going to be hyping that fight up and that’s gonna be the fight that everyone wants to see.
“I just think those are the biggest fights and make the most sense, but we’ll just have to play it out. I just fought. I don’t need an opponent right now. I’ve still got time to let this division play out. So we’ll just wait and see and hopefully, I’ll have someone by the end of the year.”
Volkanovski has a record of 22-1 in MMA and is currently the seventh-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC.
Not in a Rush. Georges St-Pierre praises Kamaru Usman, shoots down comeback talk: ‘It’s not worth it for me.’
Smart. Darren Till doesn’t want to engage in wars that already have some fighters slurring speech.
Stupid. Mike Tyson returns to face Roy Jones Jr. in 8-round exhibition match.
Proletariat. Carla Esparza won’t fault anyone asking for more money, but believes fighters should also be ‘grateful’ to UFC.
Fans. BKFC will welcome small crowd for return show, monthly events planned through November.
What the Heck.
Max Holloway is the man.
Cowboy answering fan questions.
Fights Gone By. Previewing Whittaker vs. Till plus discussing the return of Bellator.
The Bash. Interviewing the recently retired Joe Duffy.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
I’m rooting for you @darrentill2 , usually whoever I’m rooting for loses tho ♂️ ♂️— Platinum Mike Perry (@PlatinumPerry) July 23, 2020
You overgrown midget! Sign the contract and I’ll make the featherweight division great again just like I did for the flyweights and bantamweight! https://t.co/oGIDwOPKxg— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) July 23, 2020
I knew my lil brother looked up to me, but when I looked at his page it’s 90% video clips of me and fighting. It reminds me of how much this all meant to him. It reminds me that I have so much more to accomplish for him. @jacobstamann1 ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/XB8XTUZw4Y— Cody Stamann (@CodyStamann) July 23, 2020
Now this is how you make a fu**ing poster.
A Gorilla has taken over #UFCFightIsland and only one man can save the day pic.twitter.com/VVII2kNhYf— UFC on BT Sport (@btsportufc) July 23, 2020
Seems like this is where we are heading.
@Cody_Nolove is one of the biggest stars in the UFC and any division period. If he’s ranked #3 at bantamweight and if @danawhite and @Mickmaynard2 want to give him a titleshot, no one can do anything about it. It’s about making money and selling ppvs. Figueredo is awesome— Ali Abdelaziz (@AliAbdelaziz00) July 24, 2020
Fun with Photoshop.
Do you like this skinny guy? pic.twitter.com/RJCL4IqzhS— Paulo Costa ( Borrachinha ) (@BorrachinhaMMA) July 24, 2020
Speed kills ⚡️ #throwbackthursday pic.twitter.com/cwsdyrzokU— Francis Ngannou (@francis_ngannou) July 23, 2020
imagine fighting nate robinson you talk all that shit and ran like a bitch. https://t.co/QILY1xfE5H— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) July 23, 2020
I ain’t runnin from nobody, you can catch the smoke too when I’m done— Nate Robinson (@nate_robinson) July 23, 2020
worry about getting back in the nba kid you don’t want these problems. https://t.co/U4RXI1zTe1— Dillon Danis (@dillondanis) July 23, 2020
How bout your bitchass just signs the contract and let’s get this poppin! https://t.co/w9Jk2TMDQE— Kyle Crutchmer (@KyleCrutchmer) July 23, 2020
Just got promoted to my 4th degree in Kajukenbo from Sigung Willie Galvan! pic.twitter.com/7eK0o0dwCm— Sage Northcutt (@sagenorthcutt) July 23, 2020
Kevin Holland (17-5) vs. Trevin Giles (12-2); UFC Fight Night, Aug. 1.
Curtis Millender (18-5) vs. Sabah Homasi (13-8); Bellator 243, Aug. 7
KB Bhullar (8-0) vs. Bruno Oliveira (8-1); Contender Series, Sep. 1.
It’s upon us. The final weekend of Fight Island. Overall, it’s been a fun, if normal, couple of weeks and the card tomorrow is quite strong. I hope everyone has enjoyed it as much as I have. Have a great weekend and see y’all on Monday.
Who wins this weekend?
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