This past weekend at UFC 273, Volkanovski appeared in his second consecutive pay-per-view main event. Having previously defended his 145-pound gold against Holloway and Brian Ortega, the Australian was presented with the always-game Chan Sung Jung as his latest challenge.
In a striking masterclass, Alexander “The Great” successfully retained the belt with a fourth-round TKO victory over “The Korean Zombie.” As well as marking his third successful defense, Volkanovski’s triumph extended his unbeaten UFC record to 11-0 and his active win streak to a mammoth 21.
After the victory, Volkanovski used his time on the mic to call for the other top contenders in the featherweight division to do something to stand themselves out as the next challenger.
Now continuing to look ahead to his potential next opponent inside the Octagon, Volkanovski has suggested there’s one man in particular who can thrust himself to the top of the queue.
Volkanovski: It’ll Be Hard For UFC To Turn Yair Down
Having originally been scheduled to face Holloway for the third time, a booking that came after “Blessed” rebounded from back-to-back losses to Volkanovski with headline wins against Calvin Kattar and Yair Rodríguez, it was thought by many that with a win over Jung, the champ would have the trilogy with Holloway re-arranged for later this year.
However, Volkanovski doesn’t think it’s that simple.
In another crucial contest in the featherweight class, a fight between top-five contenders Ortega and Rodríguez is reportedly in the works. Despite the Mexican falling short in a Fight of the Year contender with Holloway last November, Volkanovski believes a victory over “T-City” could be enough for “El Pantera” to secure a title shot.
“Obviously, it’s a tricky one for Ortega cause, well, Ortega just fought me, right? But if Yair goes out there and takes him out, you think anybody’s gonna be screaming anyone else’s name?” Volkanovski said during an appearance on The MMA Hour. “So, that’s what I mean. These fights need to happen. You go out there and do it quick… Again, you’ve got, what, two and three? So you go out there and do that, and if Max isn’t the one that happens, you think anybody’s gonna be (annoyed)?
“You go out there and do that, take out Ortega and knock him out or something like that, say for Yair, I guarantee you it’s gonna be hard for the UFC to turn down that fight, even if they want Max or did want Henry Cejudo, or even me moving up,” added Volkanovski. “It’s gonna be pretty hard for me to do anything else if they go out and take that. That’s what I mean, go out and take that, then I won’t have these options.”
While Volkanovski has made his champ-champ aspirations clear, he certainly isn’t short of potential challengers at 145 pounds, especially with the recent victories for Kattar and the fast-rising Arnold Allen.
For now, it appears all eyes will be on the potential clash between Yair and Ortega. If Volkanovski is to be believed, a place above Holloway in title contention could be at stake.
Do you agree with Alexander Volkanovski? Can Yair Rodríguez skip Max Holloway in the queue for a title shot by beating Brian Ortega?