While the Australia-born featherweight enters the fight as the reigning and defending 145-pound champion, Holloway hasn’t seen that kind of confidence from his opponent in the lead up to the fight.
“How is he talking? Is he talking like a champion? “ Holloway said of the ex-champ on Tuesday during a media scrum for Saturday’s event. “At the end of the day, I feel like he’s attacking me. He called me out to fight. That’s something a challenger does, doesn’t it? I don’t know.
“This guy’s been saying stuff. He’s the one that’s been saying he’s got a chip on his shoulder about something. He’s ready to prove something.”
In the aftermath of their first meeting, Holloway questioned the logic behind the unanimous decision in Volkanovski’s favor. He felt like the scorecards were much closer than indicated, but ultimately, he still left without the featherweight title around his waist.
As they prepare to clash this weekend, Volkanovski has said he believes Holloway is behaving like a “sore loser” over the loss.
Holloway countered by questioning Volkanovski’s overall demeanor, pointing out the featherweight champ called for the rematch at UFC 251.
“In my eyes, you’re the champ, what are you trying to prove?” Holloway said. “If you believe you’re the champ, who are you trying to prove anything to? I’m not trying to prove anything to no one.”
Fighting and winning is really what drives Holloway. But the title serves as a monument to his status as the best featherweight in the sport. He’s said numerous times that the title doesn’t matter as much as the wins and losses.
Holloway felt like a champion with or without the belt. He isn’t so sure that Volkanovski feels the same way.
“I knew I was the champ,” Holloway said. “There’s certain things like the belt, it was just for people to understand where I was coming from.
“At the end of the day, his interviews speak for themselves. You guys can go look and tell me any different.”