Alexander Volkanovski on immediate Max Holloway trilogy: ‘What, we’re just gonna keep fighting until Max wins?’
At UFC 251, Alexander Volkanovski successfully defended his featherweight title for the first time, winning a split decision over former champion Max Holloway. It was the second time in a row the two had fought one another, with Volkanovski coming out ahead on the cards both times, and now, Volkanovski is adamant he get to fight someone else.
The rematch between Volkanovski and Holloway was a decidedly close battle, with many fans and media members believing Holloway had done enough to reclaim the title. As such. earlier this week UFC President Dana White told ESPN that “it’s hard not to” give Holloway an immediate rematch, despite having officially lost twice. However, Volkanovski is not a fan of that idea.
“It’s pretty clear that like, you win back-to-back, two wins in a row. To make a third one, it just doesn’t really make sense, especially right now,” Volkanovski told Submission Radio. “Again, we know that last fight was close, but the judges gave me the decision, and that’s that. And in the first fight, even though it was competitive, I pretty clearly won that fight. So, to just give him another rematch straight away and put the division on hold, it just doesn’t make any sense. . .
“It was a close fight, and I understand why people want to see the fight again, but at the same time, I won twice back to back. So, it just doesn’t really make sense right now. It’s something that it can definitely be a big fight in the future as well. But for right now, I’ve got a division that I want to hold and I don’t want to keep on hold. So, I want number one contenders, I want some fresh blood in there. So, we’ll see who that is.”
To be fair, White anticipated Volkanovski’s reaction, saying that “I’m sure Volkanovski doesn’t love the idea.” However, White comes back to the idea that given the close nature of their two previous bouts, a third fight is the fight fans want to see right now in the featherweight division. The champion disagrees.
“Look, man, I gave Max a rematch for them,” Volkanovski said. “The UFC didn’t give me anything else but the rematch. My team weren’t too happy about that, but again, I ended up saying, you know what, there’s no one else, I still think this is the biggest fight for me on that card as well – cause there was no clear number ones, so I think that was the biggest fight, and that’s why I wanted to do it. So, we ended up making it worth it on a big card like it was and we made it happen. . .
“I probably would maybe consider it if there was no other fight and this was the fight that everyone wanted, but it seems like everyone wants us to move on anyway. The division needs to play out, and we got a whole division, there’s so many of us. We’ve got 15 people that are ranked for a reason, and what, we’re just gonna keep fighting until Max wins? You know what I mean? It just doesn’t make sense.”
Volkanovski has consistently said he wants to face other top featherweight contenders and has even cited Chan Sung Jung and Zabit Magomedsharipov as possible opponents. Noticeably absent from that list is former flyweight and bantamweight champion Henry Cejudo who has been lobbying aggressively for a bout with Volkanovki. However, the champion has no intention of taking that fight either.
“I’ve got a division to hold and I’ve got my eye on the division, I want these number one contenders,” Volkanovski said. “And if for some reason the UFC pushed that on me, like I said, I’ve got to get paid for it, because it’s just a waste of time for me, I believe. A waste of time for the division.
“Again, he’s done great thing things in flyweight and bantamweight, but I mean, featherweight is whole different beast. . . That’s why it just doesn’t make sense for me, cause everyone’s just going to sort of expect me to go out there and mop the floor. And that’s pretty much exactly what’s going to happen. No disrespect to Henry Cejduo, but it’s a whole different breed in this division.”
Volkanovski’s record currently sits at 22-1 and he is the seventh-ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC.