The UFC featherweight champion successfully defended his title for the fourth time in the co-main event of UFC 276. “The Great” put on a dominant performance in his third meeting with Holloway and earned 50-45 scorecards from all 3 judges.
A trilogy bout where one fighter is already up 2-0 is uncommon to say the least, but many felt that the split decision in their second bout should have gone in Holloway’s favor.
Speaking at the UFC 276 post-fight press conference, Volkanovski explained that a visit from USADA the night before that fight affected his performance.
“So it was halfway through my sleep. I literally, they woke us all up and said that they were gonna test. And obviously my coaches and management were like, ‘What do you mean? What the hell?’ Went there, and then obviously I woke up during the night to piss. I couldn’t fill it up, I had to water load.
“Like, the story goes on. I was (drinking) water so I could hurry up and piss so I could go to bed. Couldn’t get to sleep, so I took melatonin tablets. Woke up, still in a sleep cycle, and then just — now that you watch that fight, it probably makes a bit of sense.”
“That’s The Type Of Champion I Am”
As frustrating as the circumstances may have been, Volkanovski wasn’t about to reach for excuses after the close decision. Instead, he’s happy to speak about it in the aftermath of UFC 276 after showing what he’s capable of.
“Put it this way, when I say I didn’t turn up, now I can say it. It’s not an excuse, ’cause look what I did tonight. I waited till now to tell you the full story. But I mean, that’s why I’m so confident. Look what I did. I forced everything, if you watch [the second fight], I had no reactions. My reaction times were way off. I had no reaction, no pace, everything was forced. I had to force everything. I had to use my head to just force things to happen.
“But that’s the type of guy I am. Even when things were all against me, I still stood my ground and I still forced shit, made it happen. And that’s the type of champion I am. I’m sorta glad that happened, because it made me even stronger.”
Volkanovski’s third win against Holloway was arguably the most impressive victory of his career. While there’s a few names in the UFC’s featherweight Top 10 that he’s yet to face, the 33-year-old has already discussed the possibility of moving up a weight class.
What do you make of Volkanovski’s explanation for how he performed in his second fight with Holloway?