Alexander Volkanovski has established himself as one of the top pound-for-pound fighters in the sport, but there’s one moment he feels solidified his place in MMA history.
The UFC’s featherweight champion is fresh off a unanimous decision win over Max Holloway in the co-main event of UFC 276, which was Volkanovski’s third victory against the former champion.
The lopsided fight was arguably the most impressive performance of Volkanovski’s career, and it finally closed the book on a rivalry with Holloway that began in 2019 when Volkanovski first claimed the UFC’s featherweight title.
The 33-year-old hasn’t lost a fight since his fourth pro bout, and he’s now defended his belt on four occasions. Despite having a number of accomplishments to choose from, Volkanovski feels it’s a moment from his title defense against Brian Ortega that really sums up his legacy as a fighter.
“This Guy Doesn’t Give Up”
Ortega, who fights Yair Rodriguez in the main event of this weekend’s UFC Long Island, is known as one of the most dangerous submission artists in the UFC. He challenged Volkanovski for the featherweight title in 2021 at UFC 266 and had the champion in what appeared to be a fight-ending mounted guillotine in the third round.
Volkanovski somehow managed to escape the submission attempt and went on to win a unanimous decision. Speaking to SPORTbible, “The Great” explained why getting out of that submission solidified his legacy in the sport.
“A good definition of what I’m about or who I am is obviously me in that guillotine,” Volkanovski said. “It’s a good indicator of what I pride myself on. If someone was to find a definition of me, they wouldn’t have to look up a definition, because they can go back and watch that footage of me in that guillotine and be like ‘this guy doesn’t give up’…It shows I have a never say die attitude.”
The Australian champion will likely be out of commission for a while following his most recent title defense, but the 33-year-old will have no shortage of potential opponents once he returns to action.
#3-ranked UFC featherweight Yair Rodriguez could find himself in position for a title shot if he defeats Ortega at UFC Long Island this weekend, while #4-ranked Josh Emmett just picked up his fifth-straight win after beating Calvin Kattar and feels he deserves a crack at the belt.
Even with the possibility of new contenders at featherweight, there’s always the chance that Volkanovski decides to pursue bigger challenges.
When you think of Alexander Volkanovski, what is the #1 moment of his career that pops into your mind?