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Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski targets year-end Islam Makhachev rematch, was offered option to wait

UFC 284: Makhachev v Volkanovski Photo by Paul Kane/Getty Images

Alexander Volkanovski has made his intentions clear.

After starting his UFC featherweight championship run by only fighting once in 2020 and 2021, Volkanovski vowed to be more active. In 2022, “The Great” turned in two of his best career performances, if not his best, defeating “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung and Max Holloway in masterful fashion. Volkanovski has already gotten one fight under his belt this year, but unfortunately for him, it didn’t result in his hand being raised.

UFC 284 this past February saw Volkanovski aim to make history, challenging newly-minted lightweight kingpin Islam Makhachev for the 155-pound crown. The pair of champions put on a high-level instant classic that had spectators making cases for either as the rightful victor. Ultimately, Makhachev earned the unanimous decision, leaving Volkanovski clinging to hopes of an eventual rematch. With Makhachev’s return expected to come in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21 at UFC 294, Australia’s finest had no other option than to keep busy in the meantime.

“I wanted to be active. I told you that,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “I was asked after the fight [with Makhachev], do I want to wait around for the rematch, do I want to fight at featherweight, what do I wanna do? I don’t want to wait around. They said, ‘Do you want to wait around and the only thing is if you wait for that fight, that might not be until the end of the year.’ We don’t know when that fight is happening but it’s not looking like it’s gonna be anytime soon.

“I ain’t waiting. I’d rather fight featherweight then do the rematch sometime at the end of the year, whenever it is. Whenever that fight can happen, that fight’s always gonna be there. I want to stay active and I told you I wanted to stay active and I wasn’t lying. This is proof of that.”

An interim featherweight champion was crowned in the form of Yair Rodriguez on the same night as Makhachev vs. Volkanovski. In the case that the undisputed champion wouldn’t make an immediate return, the interim titlist could keep things moving along. At UFC 290 on July 8, there will be no need for two straps as the pair will unify the gold.

One month before Volkanovski attempts to secure a fifth successful title defense, top lightweight contenders Charles Oliveira and Beneil Dariush will battle for the expected next shot at Makhachev. Despite the loss in his last time out, Volkanovski isn’t deterred from achieving his goal of double champion. Therefore, the best performance out of both fights may determine what ends up happening in the promotion’s return to Fight Island.

“When I do get that lightweight belt, you know I’ll be keeping both divisions busy,” Volkanovski said. “A lot of people were like, ‘How you gonna do it?’ This is how I’m gonna do it.”


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Analysis. Demetrious Johnson: Henry Cejudo should’ve beaten Aljamain Sterling even though he ‘dropped the ball’

Fight On. Johnny Walker doesn’t think Anthony Smith should retire after UFC Charlotte

Welcome. Diego Lopes reacts to near upset of Movsar Evloev at UFC 288, expects rematch in the future

Colorful. Merab Dvalishvili surprised stolen Sean O’Malley jacket fit: ‘He looks like a Christmas tree

Frustration. Joe Fournier blasts KSI, Misfits Boxing, plans to appeal ‘disgusting’ knockout call

Responses. ‘Dude is Dagestani’: Pros react to Jailton Almeida’s dominant submission win in UFC Charlotte main event


UFC Charlotte Post-Fight Show.

UFC 288 Slo-Mo.

Free fight.

Bellator 296 recap and finishes.

Full fight.

For the moms.

Out of camp.









Immortal and Notorious.




Saturday nights.

Taking aim.

Class in defeat.



Ante Delija (23-5) vs. Maurice Greene (11-7); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Larissa Pacheco (20-4) vs. Amber Leibrock (7-4); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Biaggio Ali Walsh (Debut) vs. Travell Miller (Debut); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Aspen Ladd (10-4) vs. Karolina Sobek (4-1); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Renan Ferreira (9-4) vs. Matheus Scheffel (17-10); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Denis Goltsov (30-7) vs. Yorgan De Castro (9-4); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Marina Mokhnatkina (9-3) vs. Evelyn Martins (5-0); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Danilo Marques (14-4) vs. Marcelo Nunes (9-2); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Julia Budd (16-6) vs. Martina Jindrova (6-4); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Olena Kolesnyk (8-5) vs. Yoko Higashi (8-3); 2023 PFL 5, June 16

Olivier Aubin-Mercier (18-5) vs. Anthony Romero (12-1); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Sadibou Sy (14-6-2) vs. Shane Mitchell (13-5); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Shane Burgos (15-4) vs. Yamato Nishikawa (21-4-6); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Clay Collard (22-10) vs. Stevie Ray (25-12); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Magomed Magomedkerimov (31-6) vs. David Zawada (18-8); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Magomed Umalatov (13-0) vs. Nayib Lopez (16-0); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Natan Schulte (24-5-1) vs. Raush Manfio (17-4); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Carlos Leal (18-4) vs. Dilano Taylor (10-4); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Alexander Martinez (10-4) vs. Bruno Miranda (15-3); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Jarrah Al Silawi (18-5) vs. Cedric Doumbe (4-0); 2022 PFL 6, June 23

Vitor Petrino (8-0) vs. Marcin Prachnio (16-6); UFC 290, July 8

Bryan Barberena (18-10) vs. Makhmud Muradov (25-8); UFC London, July 22

CJ Vergara (11-4-1) vs. Vinicius Salvador (14-5); UFC 291, July 29

Lando Vannata (12-7-2) vs. Mike Breeden (10-5); UFC Vegas 78, Aug. 12


This is actually kind of crazy for several reasons if true, and I see no reason for Volkanovski to lie. Him having the option to just wait until UFC 294 gives the interim much more logic, but with how things have all shaken out in mind, it feels kind of hilarious if he were to beat Rodriguez and go right back to fighting Makhachev. Completely eliminates the point of that interim ... but what else is new?

Hope everyone told their moms they love ‘em yesterday. Let’s get the week off to a good start. Thanks for reading!


Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 57% of 421 total votes answered “Jailton Almeida” when asked, “Who wins tomorrow?” Almeida defeated Jairzinho Rozenstruik via first-round rear-naked choke submission in the UFC Charlotte main event.

Thursday: 68% of 374 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Should Belal Muhammad vs. Gilbert Burns have been stopped?” Muhammad defeated Burns via a unanimous decision in the UFC 288 co-main event.

Wednesday: 60% of 294 total votes answered “UFC Charlotte” when asked, “Which is the better card this weekend?” Bellator 296 took place in Paris, France the night before UFC Charlotte.

Tuesday: 59% of 564 total votes answered “0” when asked, “How many times will Jamahal Hill successfully defend the UFC light heavyweight title?

Monday: 51% of 572 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Will Muhammad fight again before a title shot?

Today’s exit poll:


Who would you rather see face Makhachev next?

This poll is closed

  • 20%
    Alexander Volkanovski
    (120 votes)
  • 45%
    The Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush winner
    (267 votes)
  • 1%
    The Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush winner — only if it’s Oliveira
    (8 votes)
  • 33%
    The Charles Oliveira vs. Beneil Dariush winner — only if it’s Dariush
    (197 votes)
592 votes total Vote Now

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.

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