Volkanovski is fresh off his fourth featherweight title defense, defeating Max Holloway via unanimous decision during the UFC 276 co-main event on July 2 in Las Vegas, Nevada. After the win, “The Great” expressed his desire to become a simultaneous two-division champion. And he said he was eyeing lightweight.
“Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” Volkanovski said inside the cage to Joe Rogan via MMA Fighting. “I just proved to you that I want to be in this Octagon as much as possible. I want to be busy. I want to move up and go for double champ and I’ll keep two divisions busy.
“Charles [Oliveira], whoever gets that belt, no disrespect, I’d love to move up, get that double champ status.”
Although Oliveira lost his belt due to a botched weight cut, the Brazilian is still viewed as the division’s top dog and will likely fight for the vacant belt in his next outing. While speaking with The Schmo recently, “Do Bronx” gave a stern message to Volkanovski, as well as to other fighters planning to move to lightweight.
“He’s a very tough guy, and I know he has made history (at) 145. But everybody who thinks about moving up to 155 has to think very well, because it’s a very, very, very hard division,” Oliveira said via MMA News.
Islam Makhachev’s Coach Doesn’t See Volkanovski as a Threat
Another name The Great could potentially meet north of 145 pounds is No. 4 Islam Makhachev. But, during a recent interview with Submission Radio, Makhachev’s coach Javier Mendez said he doesn’t see Volkanovski as a “big threat” to the lightweight.
He cited Makhachev’s dominant ground game as the reason why the Australian wouldn’t get his hand raised.
“I don’t think he poses as big a threat to Islam as you would think because he’s such a master on the takedown, and Alex isn’t going to be able to stop it no matter what he does,” Mendez said via MMA Junkie. “And Islam’s stand up is so damn good that he can stand with him. So, you know, unless Alex’s ground improves tremendously, I don’t see it as a huge threat to Islam.”
Many view Oliveira vs. Makhachev as the rightful pairing to compete for the vacant belt. And unlike the featherweight king, Mendez sees Oliveira as a very tough task.
“I see Oliveira as a huge threat, but I don’t see Alex,” Mendez said. “Only because he (Volkanovski) ain’t gonna be able to stop Islam from taking it to the ground, and I just don’t think he can handle Islam’s ground game.”
Volkanovski Is Unbeaten in the UFC, Hasn’t Lost for Nearly 10 Years
Volkanovski knows nothing but success as a UFC fighter. He made his promotional debut in November 2016 as a 155-pounder and finished Yusuke Kasuya via second-round TKO. He dropped down to featherweight for his next bout and has called the division his home ever since.
All in all, The Great has won 12 fights inside the Octagon, besting the likes of Holloway, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes and Brian Ortega. Volkanovski has only lost once as a professional, suffering a TKO in May 2013 when he fought as a welterweight.
Volkanovski boasts a record of 25-1.