Calvin Kattar is still hunting for his first shot at UFC gold, but the #4-ranked featherweight already knows exactly what current champion he’d like to emulate.
The 34-year-old was dismissive when asked if a Volkanovski win would be better for his own title aspirations, but he took the opportunity to compliment both fighters.
“I’m excited for [Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3],” Kattar answered when asked about the fight. “I like both guys, watching both guys fight. I’ve got a lot of respect for both, they want guys that earn opportunities and compete. Like after that fight with Max, I felt like he might have been next up in line for a title fight anyway, and he still chose to stay busy and fight Yair. So, props to him.
“Then Alex fighting him a third time just to put an end to that chapter, you’ve gotta respect that. He’s a busy fighter, you know? I think he resembles what a champion should act like at that point. Not just picking and choosing but wanting the best fights. I think we’re all in for a good one in July.”
Volkanovski claimed the featherweight championship from Holloway at UFC 245 in 2019. The Australian earned a split-decision in their rematch the following year and has since defended his belt twice more against Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung.
The scheduled third fight with Holloway will be the first time Volkanovski has defended his title twice in a calendar year. While that may seem relatively inactive compared to fighters on their way up, Kattar appreciates that Volkanovski has been one of the UFC’s busier champions during his title reign.
“I would say if I had the option, it’d be good to have a busy champ. Like I said, I think [Volkanovski] definitely acts the way a champ should act. And I would have that same mindset, where I would wanna fight the guys that are earning their opportunities, not the ones that are kind of waiting for guys to fight and see how it settles…I don’t know, people get too cute with it. I think he just wants guys that are earning their next opportunity, and that’s the way I wanna get my opportunity. By earning them, staying busy, competing and taking on the best guys to get there.”
“The Boston Finisher” was a on a two-fight win streak before losing a unanimous decision to former champion Holloway in 2021. He rebounded with a dominant performance against Giga Chikadze earlier this year and will face Josh Emmett in a potential featherweight title eliminator at UFC on ESPN 37.
What do you think of Kattar’s thoughts on how Volkanovski has conducted himself as UFC champion?