Following a rankings report that was recently released, it was revealed that the UFC removed Zabit Magomedsharipov from the lightweight rankings and cited inactivity as the primary reason. Interestingly, top featherweight Yair Rodriguez hasn’t competed since around the same time as Zabit, but the flashy kicker remains in the rankings.
As one of the most exciting featherweights on the roster, champion Alexander Volkanovski is hoping that the rumors about Zabit stepping away from the sport are not true, as he looks forward to one day fighting such a unique striker. Consequently, the defending featherweight champion gave his insight about the Zabit situation on a segment with South China Morning Post.
“I hope not. I mean, obviously, seeing the rankings thing and then obviously him wanting a title fight and not getting it….look, I can see why he’s a little bit frustrated, but I mean, he still needs to see it from the promotion’s side of view as well,” Volkanovski said. “He hasn’t fought the top guys right at the top, he hasn’t fought a five-rounder, and things like that.” Volkanovski continued.
Overall, it seems the champ wants Zabit to stick around, but first, the Russian needs to prove himself once and for all, and against high caliber opposition. Additionally, the featherweight champion also mentioned his fear of opponents who pull out of fights. With the enhanced precautions taken to combat COVID-19 in Australia and New Zealand, it makes sense that he shares that sentiment.
“But at the same time, all the way through, there’s been pull-outs, he’s been struggling to get fights, things like that. Aleksander Volkanovski said. So you gotta feel for him that way. “I want him to be there so I can take him out. Again, I want to be the GOAT of my division, and I want to fight good fighters. And there’s a lot of people that obviously talk highly of him. And He is a good fighter.
“So I would love to go out there and do work, and, again, just take out those top contenders. So I want him to get at the top, and I want to knock these guys down. The guys who there, ‘Oh, this is the guy. This is the guy.’ I’m just gonna prove, ‘No, he’s not and keep doing it time and time again until everyone’s just like, “Damn, Volkanovski is the GOAT of the division, pound for pound #1.”
Having already racked up his first title defense in a heated rematch with featherweight legend Max Holloway last July, Volkanovski is eager to carve out his own path and ascend to heights that only legends can reach. First, the champion will need to survey the land and figure out what fight is next on his championship journey.
Volkanovski is determined to become a featherweight name that no fan will forget, and he believes to accomplish that he will inevitably have to snatch the title of GOAT in his respective division by knocking off contender after contender.
Who would you like to see Volkanovski paired with in his next time fight? Let us know!