Alexander Volkanovski hasn’t had the best of times since dominating Jose Aldo last weekend, first being hospitalized a blood infection, then discovering that former lightweight champion Frankie Edgar would be the next challenger for Max Holloway’s featherweight title.
“The Great” is coming off a career-best performance against former featherweight kingpin Aldo and was the favorite to secure a title fight against Holloway later this year, potentially on a card in his native Australia alongside fellow Aussie Robert Whittaker. However, the UFC had different plans and decided to go with Edgar instead after “The Answer” did the promotion a favor in March last year by risking his No. 1 contender position to fight Brian Ortega at UFC 222 in a fight which he unexpectedly lost by knockout.
Volkanovski’s coach, Eugene Bareman of City Kickboxing -- home to Adesanya as well -- made an appearance on Submission Radio recently and said he was “livid” by the snub to his fighter (transcription via BJPenn.com):
“Gutted, mate,” Bareman said. “Absolutely livid. Livid. Livid. Like, we talked about this for such a long time. We talked about it, our team talked about. Our goal was to set this scenario up. And for all our knowledge, this is what the UFC were looking for, this is what they wanted. They needed [Volkanovski] to win that fight, they needed Israel to get into position, and then we’ve got an Australasian super card set up all because of the work that we’ve put in and the position that we’ve put ourselves into. And that was all to get to this goal, to get to that super card. And we were obviously [thinking that] but the UFC was on a different page. We didn’t think so, but yeah, absolutely gutted. Is it not obvious?
“And this has nothing to do with Frankie. I mean, I don’t know Frankie, I don’t know his coaches, I don’t know his management or anything. And it’s not about that Frankie doesn’t deserve it. He probably does deserve it. He just doesn’t deserve it more than Alex Volkanovski deserves it. Unfortunately for Frankie, him and his team advised him to take that risky fight against Brian Ortega. And I fully understand why you gotta do that because you can’t wait around forever, your family has to eat, you have to earn money. But it’s called a risk for a reason.”
Holloway is set to defend his featherweight belt against Edgar on July 27 at UFC 240 in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.