Alexander Volkanovski has said that he does not need a break MMA, and that he will be taking on Ilia Topuria, in January, for the featherweight title.
The Aussie fought for the lightweight title at UFC 294, against Islam Makhachev, on 11 days notice after the Russian’s initial opponent, Charles Oliveira, pulled out of the fight due to injury. Volkanovski was knocked out by a head kick in the first round against Makhachev.
In the post-fight press conference, Volk got emotional about the struggles he’s had with not fighting as often as he would have wanted, and he pleaded with the UFC to keep him active. That’s what he’s intending to do.
Alexander Volkanovski Insists on Fighting Ilia Topuria
No date has been confirmed for the potential fight between Volk and Topuria, but it’s a bit of an open secret that the plan is for the bout to take place in the first month of 2024.
After getting finished in the way that the 35-year-old did, on Saturday, many other fighters wouldn’t want to be turning around for a fight in about three months time. That’s not how Volk is wired though.
On his YouTube channel, he said that he told the UFC that he needs to be fighting because he is in his prime. “A lot of people are like, ‘He needs a break and this.’ I don’t need a break. I want to get back in camp,” said the UFC featherweight champion.
“I obviously talked to doctors to make sure there’s no concussion, the stitches and what not, but like I said I’m the best version of myself inside and outside the cage when I have a clear direction. And that clear direction is having a fight.
“I think January still looks great to me. Ilia Topuria is obviously a very exciting fight, and I can shift all of my attention to that.
“You’re going to see a better version of myself in January, I promise you that.”
How Do Volkanovski and Topuria Match Up?
The Spaniard has had a perfect 6-0 start to life in the UFC. He finished four of those fights, either by KO or submission, and convincingly beat former featherweight interim title challenger Josh Emmett in his last outing.
With his ability to hurt people with his striking, some fans might be a bit more worried about Volkanovski’s chances, given the way he lost in his second fight with the lightweight champion.
Losing to the man who is arguably the pound-for-pound king is no slight on Volk, especially because it was on such short notice. But the combination of those demons that he clearly has and the relatively quick turn around after a TKO loss should have Topuria chomping o the bit to get to January as soon as possible.
Volk’s comments on insisting on defending his 145lbs title in the new year should only make his 26-year-old potential opponent even more hungry for the chance to lift that belt.
Do you think Alexander Volkanovski should be taking a fight so soon after the loss to Makhachev? Let us know in the comments below.
Featured image credits to Embed from Getty Images