Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t want fans to worry that two of the UFC’s deepest divisions will slow down if he reaches champ-champ status.
At UFC 276 media day on Wednesday, the reigning featherweight champion assured everyone that he’s not only interested in fighting for the lightweight title in the future, but that he’d like to defend that title along with his own. And he’s not interested in settling for anything less.
“It has to be for the belt,” Volkanovski said when asked about his interest in moving up to 155 pounds. “I think that I deserve that. What’s going to motivate me? Obviously, challenges, or a massive fight, you know people take money fights or whatever it is, the real big fights obviously we’d be motivated, it’s something that I want to do. I want to go for that double champ status, but let’s worry about Max this weekend. Yeah, I definitely see myself calling for whoever has that belt.”
Currently, no one holds the UFC lightweight title as the most recent champion Charles Oliveira was stripped after missing weight for a scheduled defense against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274 this past May. Presumable, “Do Bronx” would be included in any lightweight championship match talks, though no matchup has been booked yet for the vacant title.
Volkanovski is optimistic that the UFC would allow him to defend both titles and if so, that there are several compelling matchups for him at 155 pounds.
“There’s so many big names there,” Volkanovski said. “There’s big names in that division. For sure, whoever has that belt will be a big fight. Purely, just me fighting for another belt is going to be massive. There’s plenty of good fights there and I would love it.
“Like I said, I don’t want to just move up and let that belt go, you see I want to be active. I just fought a few months ago and I don’t know if one division can keep me busy enough. Give me two divisions then. I’ll keep them both busy. I’ll keep both belts busy and again, I want to be active, so two divisions would definitely help with that.”
First up for Volkanovski, he has to settle his trilogy with Max Holloway this Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 276. Volkanovski holds two wins over Holloway, but their second fight was hotly contested and the scoring of that bout remains a topic of heated discussion to this day.
If he can defeat Holloway a third time, there is a lineup of hungry featherweights waiting for their shot.
“The work’s not done,” Volkanovski said. “We’ve got a stacked division. We’ve got a lot of people coming. Maybe we have to sit and wait a little bit, that’s why you’ve always got to have other options too. Whether there’s a double champ or whatever it is, because again, I don’t want to just give people a title shot for the sake of it. If there’s injuries and someone has to replace, alright, it makes sense. But then just getting someone that’s ranked further down for no reason, I think you’ve got to take that No. 1 spot like Max did and then you’ll get that shot. It’s been pretty clear from day one.
“My work’s definitely not done at featherweight. You’ve got a bunch of killers coming through. Josh Emmett, who’s just come off a fight. Your Kattars, Yair Rodriguez fighting Ortega, so that’s going to be big. Arnold Allen. There’s plenty of guys. There’s plenty of killers coming through, they’re just not there yet, but while I’m keeping busy with this, who knows? In a couple of months, we might have a clear guy that everyone wants to see, so I’ll be keen to bring that on. But we’ll see what our options are after this fight.”