Alexander Volkanovski moved closer to a shot at the Ultimate Fighting Championship featherweight title on Saturday night at UFC 232 with a convincing TKO victory over No. 5-ranked Chad Mendes.
The win meant the Aussie is now undefeated in 16 professional fights, the last six in the UFC. “The Great” again proved too good on the night although he was given his sternest test yet by Mendes who dropped the 30-year-old during the fight. Volkanovski was able to weather the storm and pressure Mendes until he dropped him and finished him in the second round. At the conclusion of the fight the Aussie called out the current 145 pound champion Max Holloway.
Volkanovski spoke to reporters after his win to clarify the callout to Holloway and explained that while he doesn’t feel like he’s next in line, he issued the challenge to ‘Blessed’ in reaction to the critics who believe Holloway has cleared out the division already (via MMAJunkie.com):
“I called out Max Holloway, not because I think, ‘Oh, yeah, I’m definitely the next in line.’ (Renato) Moicano was probably next in line, but he missed weight. I’m hearing a lot of people say, ‘What’s left for (Holloway) in this division?’ He hasn’t fought a wrestler, really, for a while – a good, strong wrestler and a big puncher. Until he takes out someone like me or Frankie Edgar, then you can say he’s took out everybody in the division. I really think that.”
Holloway only fought once in 2018 due to injuries and unexplained ‘concussion-like’ symptoms which forced him out of fights with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Brian Ortega. However, when the champ returned last month to finally face Ortega, he was back to his vintage best dismantling Ortega over four rounds before the doctor stopped the fight. Holloway is also a big athlete for the 145 pound division, who has had difficulty making weight and an eventual move up to 155 pounds seems inevitable.