After a stellar performance in a unanimous decision triumph over Brian Ortega in the UFC 266 headliner on Saturday night, Alexander Volkanovski was already looking ahead to what’s next.
While Volkanovski acknowledges that the Nov. 13 main event between Max Holloway and Yair Rodriguez could produce his next challenger, the City Kickboxing standout doesn’t want to wait that long for his next Octagon appearance. Prior to UFC 266, Volkanovski hadn’t fought since July 2020.
“You’ve got the Yair-Max fight, so I’m guessing that’s for No. 1 contender. Whoever wins that gets that shot, right? That’s not til November. I want to fight,” Volkanovski said at the UFC 266 post-fight press conference.
In the name of staying active, Volkanovski isn’t opposed to testing his mettle at 155 pounds.
“So, do I move up to lightweight? Do something,” said Volkanovski, who added he is considering a relocation of his camp to avoid COVID-19 restrictions. “Maybe move up to lightweight and fight the champion. Whatever it is. Give me something. I had 14 months off because of this whole (pandemic).”
Volkanovski is 2-0 against Holloway, but the second meeting — a split-decision triumph at UFC 251 — was especially controversial. For a period, it appeared that an immediate trilogy between Volkanovski and Holloway would be booked. Instead, the Hawaiian earned a dominant win over Calvin Kattar in January and will attempt to solidify himself as the No. 1 contender by besting Rodriguez.
“Max, I guarantee he doesn’t have to take this fight and he’s still gonna go take it,” Volkanovski said. “He wants that No.1 spot, he wants to earn it. It shows you what type of guy he is. How can you not respect that?. Good on him. That’s exactly what I’d f—-ing do. You’ve got to give him respect. I’ll give him respect.”
When Holloway and Rodriguez do square off, Volkanovski expects “Blessed” to get the nod to set up a potentially lucrative third meeting between the two rivals.
“Yair Rodriguez is a great fighter. Stylistically, Max is a nightmare for him,” Volkanovski said. “I expect Max to go out there and do his thing, and we’re gonna be running that trilogy. And Dana’s gonna pay us good money for it.
“I just want these challenges, these big fights. That’s gonna be a huge f—ng fight. Whoever it is, let’s do it. If I have to move up just to get a fight while we’re waiting for that [I’m willling]. I want to fight regularly, I don’t want to wait another six or seven months. We’ll just see what happens.”
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