Alexander Volkanovski is in prime position to challenge for the UFC lightweight championship.
That is according to UFC president Dana White, who told Robbie Fox of Barstool Sports recently that Volkanovski vs. the winner of Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev following UFC 280 is next.
“Well it makes sense,” said White. “It makes sense.”
Despite a potential No. 1 contender in Beneil Dariush vs. Mateusz Gamrot happening on the same pay-per-view event, Volkanovski was tapped to serve as the backup fighter for Oliveira vs. Makhachev. And even if his services are unneeded on Saturday, the reigning UFC featherweight kingpin still gets the opportunity to become a two-division champion in his return to the Octagon.
Speaking to Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie, Volkanovski responded to White and his confirmation that he would indeed get first dibs on whoever is the new UFC lightweight champion.
“It’s good,” said Volkanovski. “That’s obviously why I put myself in this position as well. Put it this way, I prepared for this. A lot of people are thinking I’m doing it just to — just in case. It’s not just so no one takes the opportunity away from me. That’s why I did do it, but I made sure I’m still prepared and ready.
“We trained hard,” continued Volkanovski. “I still put the work in. It was a limited camp, but I’ve been — even in the cast, I was training pretty hard thinking I reckon I would be going to Abu Dhabi, so I wanted my cardio to be up to scratch. And then as soon as it was off and as soon as I was allowed to have the contact, I got stuck into it. I’m literally treating this as if I’m in camp, so it’s good to hear that from the big boss.”
Volkanovski has fought once at lightweight in the UFC, earning a second-round TKO of Yusuke Kasuya at UFC Fight Night: Whittaker vs. Brunson in his debut nearly six years ago. Since then, the ‘Great’ returned to featherweight and rattled off six more wins before dethroning then-champion Max Holloway. He has successfully defended the title four times, with his most recent defense coming against Holloway at UFC 276 this past July.
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