UFC Champion vs. Champion Clash Is Very Possible, Dana White Says

Dana White

Getty Dana White

UFC president Dana White can see a scenario where reigning featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski moves up and immediately challenges the 155-pound champion.

Before any of that talk progresses, however, the Australian needs to handle his business on July 2nd. During the UFC 274 broadcast on Saturday night, the promotion announced the main card for International Fight Week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The event will be headlined by middleweight champion Israel Adesanya and top contender Jared Cannonier. And in the night’s co-main slot, Volkanovski will take on former 145-pound champion Max Holloway in a trilogy match. UFC 276 will take place at the T-Mobile Arena.

Volkanovski (24-1) is the man credited for taking Holloway’s belt at UFC 245 in December 2019 by unanimous decision. “The Great” and Holloway ran the fight back at UFC 251 in July 2020 and once again, Volkanovski edged the judges’ scorecards, winning by split decision.

It’s rare for a UFC combatant to receive a third crack at a fighter if they’re already 0-2 against them. But considering both decisions were controversial, especially the second one, the contest makes sense.

Both men have gone 2-0 since their last battle as well, and they’ve firmly established themselves as the two best 145 pounders in the promotion.

A 3rd Win Over Holloway Could Be Career-Defining Moment for Volkanovski, White Said

During the presser after UFC 274, White told the media that Volkanovski’s legitimacy as champion cannot be questioned, especially after his last fight. The Great put on an MMA clinic against “The Korean Zombie” at UFC 273. He gave Chan Sung Jung all he could handle on the feet, and Volkanovski ultimately won the fight by fourth-round TKO.

Volkanovski’s claim as champion was questioned by analysts and fight fans after UFC 251, considering many scored the fight for Holloway. But, White said that nowadays there shouldn’t be any question about The Great’s title reign.

“I don’t know if there’s any question marks about it now,” White said. “After his last performance… he looked unbelievable, unstoppable. It’s one of those things. As you continue to win and you continue to feel comfortable in there. And you continue to feel like this is your house, you only get better.

“It’s going to be interesting to see this fight,” White said of Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3. “This is the fight that needs to happen. I think everybody wants to see it. It’s arguably the toughest test he’s had in all of his defenses since he’s been champ.

“It could be the defining moment in his career where it’s like, let’s not discuss this again. Let’s never have this conversation again.”

White ‘Loves’ Idea of Champion vs. Champion Fight With Volkanovski

After his destruction of The Korean Zombie last month, The Great shared his interest in moving up a weight class and fighting for a second divisional title. When asked on Saturday night about the likelihood of that happening, White revealed that he’s onboard.

“If he continues to win and dominate that division, and he wants to move up to that division, he can take on the champion,” White said.

When asked if Volkanovski would get a lightweight title fight “straight away,” White responded: “Sure. Champion versus champion. Love it.”

The 155-pound belt is currently vacant. Reigning champion Charles Oliveira lost the strap after missing weight for his title fight against Justin Gaethje at UFC 274. Oliveira won the fight by first-round submission, however the belt remains vacant. The Brazilian will fight for it in his next outing, White confirmed at the press conference.

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