JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Staredowns weren’t supposed to happen at the UFC 273 press conference, but UFC featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski wanted one anyway with The Korean Zombie.
After exchanging respectful words with his opponent, Volkanovski said to the crowd, “supposedly, we’re not allowed to do any faceoffs, or something. But let’s give the crowd what they want – I want to do faceoff with Zombie if we can do that.”
“That is fine,” said UFC play-by-play commentator Jon Anik, who was filling in for UFC President Dana White on Thursday at the Jacksonville Center for the Performing Arts, which hosted the gathering.
Anik said White – the usual muscle between fighters for staredowns at UFC events – was traveling and unable to make the press conference. Given the lack of bad blood between Volkanovski and The Korean Zombie, otherwise known as Chan Sung Jung, Anik didn’t have much work to do. Volkanovski turned to the crowd and ripped off his shirt with a yell. But when heated rivals Aljamain Sterling and Petr Yan tried to do their own faceoff, security officials intervened.
Volkanovski attempts the third defense of his UFC featherweight title. He originally was scheduled to face ex-champ Max Holloway in a trilogy before an injury forced Holloway to withdraw. After callouts from several fighters, Volkanovski elected to face one-time title challenger Jung, who is 10 months removed from a decision win over Dan Ige. Jung is the No. 7 ranked featherweight in the MMA Fighting Global Rankings, while Volkanovski sits at No. 1.