Last month, Alexander Volkanovski was supposed to defend his featherweight title against Brian Ortega at UFC 260. Unfortunately, a week before the event, Volkanovski contracted COVID and the bout was postponed. Even more unfortunately, Volkanovski ended up having a serious reaction to the disease that resulted in two ER visits and a stay in the hospital. With the featherweight champion looking at a longer recovery time, the UFC was not able to schedule a quick turnaround for the bout and instead, to paraphrase Brock Lesnar, they’re making chicken salad out of chicken poop by having Volkanovski and Ortega coach the return of The Ultimate Fighter and Volkanovski at least it excited about the opportunity.
“It was a little bit of a shock,” Volkanovski told Helen Yee. “I was planning on how I was gonna get home, waiting for the negative (COVID) tests and whatnot so I could get home and then literally while that was happening we got wind of the TUF house and were like, ‘Alright’. Then before we knew it, it was locked in so I was like, I guess I’m here to stay. (Laughs).
“It’s gonna be good fun. I cannot wait to go out there. I love being in front of the camera so four, five weeks, however long it is in front of the camera, it’s gonna be good. I’m looking forward to it. It’s gonna be good banter. Obviously a lot knowledge and I just can’t wait.”
Though coaching TUF means Volkanovski and Ortega won’t fight for some time, the delay will provide the featherweight champion an opportunity to adequately recover from his stint with COVID and allow him to ease himself back into training properly, while also helping him expand his profile and work on his television skills. All in all, it’s a huge win considering the state he was in not long ago.
“To be honest, I got wind of it restarting and all that type of stuff and I didn’t think too much about it,” Volkanovski said. “Obviously while I’m fighting I’m just worried about that and then obviously I had COVID and just worried, ‘How do I get home?’ and didn’t think of it and then literally they just brang it up and I was like, ‘Oh man.’ It was a complete surprise. I did not expect that.
“You’ve just got to stay positive through all these things and always look forward and know that it will all work out in the end and that’s exactly what happened. So I’m here to stay, I’m gonna enjoy it, and I’m gonna make the most out of this whole process.”
Of course, the delay in defending the featherweight title doesn’t just affect Volkanovski and Ortega. With the belt now sidelined for another few months, the rest of the division will likewise be left waiting for resolution, chief among them, top contender Max Holloway. Volkanovski and Holloway have already fought twice, with the champion taking decisions in both cases, however their second fight was a hotly contested bout that many believe Holloway should have won. Calls for a trilogy fight have only increased since then as Holloway put forth the Beatdown of the Year against Calvin Kattar in January and though Volkanovski is currently focused on the task at hand, he knows that eventually he and Max will fight one more time.
“Right now, it’s not important because I’ve got to focus on Ortega,” Volkanovski said. “I’ve got to give Ortega the respect that he deserves by knowing that he’s in front but at the same time, every time I do an interview I’m obviously getting asked about it, everyone’s still talking about it. So everyone will want that fight, that fight will always be there and it’s always gonna be a big fight. Again, I always says I’m not scared of no one so even though I am 2-0 against him, obviously that last one was a close one and people want to see it again, so I’m sure it will happen. Right now I’ve got Ortega to worry about and I’m sure once that all happens and the UFC throws some decent money, we can all make some money and we can make that fight happen. But right now, Ortega, I’ve got you on my mind and that’s it.”
The Ultimate Fighter is expected to start filming this month and will air this summer on ESPN+. Volkanovski and Ortega are expected to fight sometime after the season concludes.
Stubborn. Kevin Holland: I’m not going to change the fighter I am and try and become a wrestler just because all these guys want to wrestle.
UFC Vegas 23 Post Show.
Post Fight Press Conference.
Wanna watch the knee? Here it is.
How we got to Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren.
Adesanya having a good time.
On To The Next One. Matchmaking for the UFC following UFC Vegas 23.
Severe MMA. Discussing pound-for-pound, the UFC middleweight picture, and Bellator.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Well, this is not a great look.
That's a fun prediction! @TheNotoriousMMA you also predicted a donation to my foundation and you and your team stopped responding after the fight in January.— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) April 11, 2021
See you soon.
July 10th Paid In Full!
A donation, not a debt. We’ve been awaiting the plans for the money that never came. I do with all my donations. Know where it’s going dot for dot. Otherwise it goes walking. As is the case with a lot of these foundations, sadly. You took the McG over the belt shows I was right.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) April 12, 2021
100% never a debt. You offered, we accepted, and like I said your Team never responded to our emails regarding the process of where funds would be put to work! July 10th you will taste defeat yet Again https://t.co/k3Cu9DG1Me— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) April 12, 2021
We thanked him because his team reached out fight week to initiate the process but ghosted us the past 2 months after the fight. My foundation has reached out 3 times since with no reply. We've moved past it! We will be announcing our next goal soon! Its a big one https://t.co/mtiOFBsd2q— The Diamond (@DustinPoirier) April 12, 2021
Transalation: I gave my word to all of you, now I’m taking it back.
As for marv... sorry ork.— D (@darrentill2) April 11, 2021
It wasn’t the prettiest win but a wins a win and it means so much to him you can see.
That fight told me he knew he couldn’t strike with me so he was going to try take me down
Even if he were to succeed in takedowns he wouldn’t of been able to keep me
There— D (@darrentill2) April 11, 2021
I would of hurt this man for five rounds on the feet
But hey who the fuck am I to talk?
I pulled out of the fight so every right I have goes out the window with that
Whatever happens for Marvin next good luck
I’m sure we’ll meet soon
I’ve got a fake injury to recover from
And repair— D (@darrentill2) April 11, 2021
See you all soon
All very soon x
Julian Marquez making the most of his call outs.
need a couple weeks but Im always down for a challenge https://t.co/OC3L15H1Yj— Patrick Mahomes II (@PatrickMahomes) April 10, 2021
We can settle ALL this up at Chicken n Pickle!! LFG!!! pic.twitter.com/KlNUR4NHdK— Travis Kelce (@tkelce) April 10, 2021
I’m down— Ty Hill (@cheetah) April 10, 2021
Pretty sick trophy case.
Joshua Culibao (8-1-1) vs. Yilan Sha (19-6); UFC Fight Night, May 22.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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