Alexander Volkanovski has defeated two of the past four UFC featherweight champions. After starting his UFC career at 6-0, the ‘Great’ fought José Aldo in a potential No. 1 contender at UFC 237 four years ago. Volkanovski handed ‘Junior’ a loss and used that to vault himself into a championship opportunity against then-UFC featherweight champ, Max Holloway.
‘Blessed’ had three successful defenses against Aldo, Brian Ortega and Frankie Edgar, and hoped to add a fourth with Volkanovski. Except the City Kickboxing product spoiled the fourth defense at UFC 245, defeating Holloway via decision. Since then, Volkanovski has held onto the title and has quite an impressive résumé already. However, one name is missing from it, and it happens to be the other former UFC featherweight champion: Conor McGregor.
Alexander Volkanovski wanted fight with Conor McGregor
The ’Notorious’ one famously dethroned Aldo via a 13-second knockout at UFC 194, but never returned to defend the title. Instead, McGregor moved from featherweight to lightweight, where he also dethroned ex-titleholder Eddie Alvarez. At that time, the Irishman was considered to be in his prime, which is the version of McGregor that Volkanovski would have loved to fight.
“It’s pretty easy for me in saying Conor McGregor because he was in featherweight,” said Volkanovski on The MMA Fan Podcast. “He was a featherweight. We’ve got to remember the champions I’ve beat. I’ve beat every other champion in the featherweight division. The only champ I haven’t fought in the featherweight division is Conor McGregor.
“Conor McGregor in his prime in featherweight division would obviously be the all-time – I’m sure everyone would want to see that right now,” continued Volkanovski. “If we could make that happen right now, somehow get prime Conor vs. prime Volk, it would be pretty special.”
Legacy > Money
Of course, fighting Conor McGregor could be a lucrative opportunity, something the SBG Ireland product would declare a ‘Red Panty Night’. However, Alexander Volkanovski said money is not as important as legacy, and a fight with McGregor would only add to his.
“Everyone’s going to talk about the money, and that’s why you only want that fight,” said Volkanovski. “Yeah, of course there’s money in it, the circus around it, the hype, all of that. But you talk about legacy, you know then I would have beaten every featherweight champion, and I plan on having the most defenses as well. It’s going to be a pretty crazy legacy.”
Next for Alexander Volkanovski?
After failing to capture the UFC lightweight championship against Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 this past February, Volkanovski returns to his original weight class for his next defense. That comes against newly crowned interim UFC featherweight champion Yair Rodríguez, who won the title via second-round submission of Josh Emmett at the same event.
Ahead of his defense, Volkanovski declared Rodríguez as one of the most dangerous fighters he has faced in the Octagon.
“I’m looking at him as a real challenger, like he’s a dangerous fighter,” said Volkanovski to Oscar Willis of TheMacLife. “He could be one of the [most] dangerous fighters I’ve fought really. When you talk about unpredictability and knockout power and so many different tools, you need to take him really serious. I think I’m the best fighter in the world, so am I confident? Yeah, but I know not to take this guy lightly. He’s been dominating and looking good in his last few fights.
Volkanovski vs. Rodríguez serves as the headliner of UFC 290, the upcoming pay-per-view event scheduled for July 8 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
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