Alexander Volkanovski just wants to fight the best his division has to offer.
Fresh off defending his featherweight title against Max Holloway at UFC 251 on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi, the Wollongong native has made his position clear to the chasing pack.
Speaking to Sporting News, Volkanovski had a message for the rest of his division: “Stop talking shit and avoiding fights. Go out and make yourself the number one contender.”
“I want to fight a number one contender, but they need to bloody go out there and do it,” he told Sporting News.
On his rise to the top of the division, Volkanovski cut no corners. It took four dominant wins before he got a shot at a ranked opponent, including a TKO win at lightweight in his promotional debut.
In his first shot at the rankings, against then No.10 Darren Elkins, Volkanovski made no mistake on his way to a unanimous decision win. He followed that up with a TKO win over No.5 Chad Mendes before outclassing UFC legend Jose Aldo in Brazil to take over the No1 contender’s spot.
Now after going 10 rounds with long-time division champion Max Holloway, first dethroning Holloway then retaining the crown, Volkanovski is displaying the mentality of a champion. While others might hunt out big money fights, Volkanovski only wants the best of the best.
The top of the 145lbs division is loaded with talent, but no clear No1 contender. However, three potential matchups could determine who’s next. At UFC Fight Night 176 in late August, No.2 Zabit Magomedsharipov meets No.5 Yair Rodriguez in a possible title eliminator, while Brian Ortega and ‘the Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung, No.3 and 4 respectively, seem to be on a collision course.
Now, after an impressive unanimous decision win over Dan Ige at UFC Fight Night 172 on Yas Island, No.6 Calvin Kattar has launched himself into the picture with many suggesting he meet No.1 Holloway next.
While only one the Magomedsharipov v Rodriguez bout has been announced, any one of these three potential matchups could determine Volkanovski’s next challenger.
“It’s earned, not given. I earned my shot; it wasn’t given to me. These guys need to do the same,” Volkanovski told Sporting News.
“They can call me out all they want and say whatever they want.
“But I want them all to fight and I want a number one contender. I want Korean Zombie, or Zabit, Brian, or Yair to go out there, win, and for everyone to scream their name and say they’re the one to beat me.”