Alexander Volkanovski was dethroned from his top spot as the official UFC rankings’ No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter at UFC 285 earlier this month.
Heading into UFC 284 in early February, the featherweight titleholder Volkanovski tried his hand at becoming a two-weight champion, attempting to defeat the lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev. Both men were ranked in the promotion’s No. 1 and 2 spots in the pound-for-pound rankings, which was a large promotional point of the clash. Despite Volkanovski entering the bout as No. 1, he left as the loser via a hard-fought unanimous decision and remained atop the list.
That all changed two weeks ago.
“Everyone loves talking about it,” Volkanovski said of pound-for-pound talk on Steve-O’s Wild Ride! “It’s a big deal. I’ll be honest with you, [becoming] a champion was great, being pound-for-pound No. 1 [was greater], which Jon Jones took that from me (laughs). I don’t think with all of the [rankings], but the UFC, yes.”
Jones’ impending return to MMA as a heavyweight saw him defeat top-ranked contender and former interim titlist Ciryl Gane with ease at UFC 285. “Bones” captured a new UFC title after dominantly ruling light heavyweight since 2011, submitting Gane in slightly over two minutes with a guillotine to supplant “The Great” Volkanovski from his perch.
There were already arguments aplenty regarding Volkanovski and Makhachev not swapping. Now, the debate rages on with Jones re-entering the conversation he’s long been a part of.
“He actually said it really well where it goes by what you’ve done lately as well,” Volkanovski said. “It’s gonna go with that you might have done a whole heap four years ago, but that’s got nothing to do with now. You are not pound-for-pound, we don’t know what you’re doing right now. So, that’s always gonna come into play, though.
“It was just that one [fight in three years], you’re right. But what he did, moving up — at least he moved up and showed that pound-for-pound comes into play. The body of work that we’ve done in the last three years, obviously, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Look what Alex has done in the last three years.’ You can get that, but at the same time, look at what Jon Jones has done as well. Can I really argue that? He’s gonna be one of the greatest of all time. For him to take that is like, ‘Damn it! What do you do?’”
During UFC 285 fight week, Jones was asked about his feelings on the matter and had no problem labeling Volkanosvki as the current top dog in MMA — he just wanted it known his goal was to be No. 1 all-time ... not at present. The ranking drop is something that Volkanonski will only use as fuel and motivation to reclaim it, starting with either a Yair Rodriguez featherweight title unification bout or a desired Makhachev rematch.
From one all-time great to the next, Volkanovski wasn’t surprised to see Jones get an impressive win over Gane. Instead, it was how aggressive the well-rounded legend was with his historically strong wrestling game. Therefore, leading Jones’ to a likely next encounter with a fellow all-timer, Stipe Miocic.
“I thought he should wrestle,” Volkanovski said. “If he was to grab ahold of [Gane], he’s gonna do really well if he uses all his tools. I think his biggest problem for him would be heavyweights landing on him. But when it comes to wrestling, I think he’s gonna outdo all the heavyweights. Even your Stipes.
“Jon Jones’ wrestling is incredible. I don’t think it’s underestimated, I think people know. He was taking even ‘DC’ (Daniel Cormier) down. It’s pretty crazy to see what he’s capable of.”
Advice. Dana White cautions Merab Dvalishvili: ‘Really bad idea’ to avoid fighting friend Aljamain Sterling
Options. Anthony Pettis urges fighters to consider alternatives to UFC: ‘It’s sad to see these guys make the decisions they make’
Experience. Eddie Alvarez on signing with BKFC: ‘Everything’s different about it, and it gets me excited’
Squashed. Merab Dvalishvili: Petr Yan ‘will respect other fighters’ after UFC Las Vegas loss
Strategic. Henry Cejudo wants Merab Dvalishvili as backup for UFC 288, fears Aljamain Sterling will ‘eventually back out’
Assistance. Bo Nickal thanks Michael Chandler for ‘too talky’ constructive criticism
Changes. New UFC 286 main card revealed with Leon Edwards vs. Kamaru Usman 3 for welterweight title
Rematch. Jose Aldo happy with boxing win over ‘tough guy’, predicts he’ll do ‘great job’ against Jeremy Stephens
UFC Las Vegas Post-Fight Show.
UFC 286 Countdown.
The Edwards-Usman rivalry.
A wild Bellator 292.
War Room: Gaethje vs. Fiziev.
Merab’s camp for Aldo.
Volk meets the Prime boys.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Yall see that shit? pic.twitter.com/nWETD9TSmC— Pimp G (@Genasea) March 11, 2023
It all sunk in for Benson Henderson during his final post-fight press conference. One of the all-time greats at 155. #Bellator292 pic.twitter.com/2TDrkK6FcM— Drake Riggs (@DrakeRiggs_) March 11, 2023
Petr Yan has to do some soul-searching after his loss to Merab Dvalishvili. 49 takedown attempts means 49 missed chances at landing uppercuts, knees, anything other than holding his hands up and accepting defeat.— Henry Cejudo (@HenryCejudo) March 12, 2023
Where did the killer go?
FULL BREAKDOWN: https://t.co/fx8ChbIHwS pic.twitter.com/qSgOVideke
UFC would love it.
Imagine if merab and aljo end up having a colby masvidal breakup story— Belal Muhammad (@bullyb170) March 12, 2023
My special place #att #ufc #miami pic.twitter.com/7nfGrLhpEI— Sergei Pavlovich (@SPavlovich13) March 12, 2023
Jade Jorand came for war in the Combate main event#CombateGlobal pic.twitter.com/rog3CvGdrb— caposa (@Grabaka_Hitman) March 12, 2023
Got double the winnings, @stake #Stake #ad pic.twitter.com/t2Tm3Qmtot— alexa grasso (@AlexaGrasso) March 12, 2023
Off to London.
March 13, 2023
Gabriel Santos (10-0) vs. Lerone Murphy (11-0-1); UFC 286, March 18
Tamires Vidal (7-1) vs. Hailey Cowan (7-2); UFC San Antonio, March 25
Aljamain Sterling (22-3) vs. Henry Cejudo (16-2); UFC 288, May 6
I know this is a pretty fair debate to have, but for my money, it’s pretty clearly Jones.
Thanks for reading!
Last Week’s Results:
Friday: 57% of 300 total votes answered “Usman Nurmagomedov” when asked, “Who will win the Bellator lightweight grand prix?” Nurmagomedov advanced to the tournament's semifinals, defeating Benson Henderson via first-round submission (rear-naked choke) at Bellator 292.
Thursday: 584 total votes answered “Petr Yan” when asked, “Who wins this weekend?” Merab Dvalishvili defeated Yan via a unanimous decision in the UFC Las Vegas main event.
Wednesday: 53% of 398 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Bo Nickal win a UFC title?”
Tuesday: 61% of 848 total votes answered “Beneil Dariush” when asked, “Who is your early pick?” Dariush faces Charles Oliveira at UFC 288 on May 6.
Monday: 72% of 759 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Was Jon Jones’ performance against Ciryl Gane his career-best?” Jones defeated Gane via first-round submission (guillotine) in the UFC 285 main event.
Today’s exit poll:
Who should be considered the No. 1 pound-for-pound male fighter in MMA?
This poll is closed
If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.