Alex Volkanovski didn’t think Max Holloway would want to run things back right away.
At UFC 245, Volkanovski beat Holloway to become the new featherweight champion. After the event, there was talk of an immediate rematch, but the Aussie admits he didn’t think the Hawaiian in Holloway would take it.
“That was something the UFC wanted and Dana White wanted it. I said myself after the fight that I wanted to give him the respect and give him a rematch,” Volkanovski said on Just Scrap Radio on BJPENN.com. “But, watching back the tape, I’m like, do you really get a rematch for a five-round shutout? He was a great champion and it wasn’t like I 10-8’d him every round. But, over time people forget how dominant that win was. The majority of people are picking me to win and there are still a lot of people doubting me. There are a lot of people who quickly forgot what I’ve done. The beauty of that is I can prove them wrong, July 11 against Max.
“This is a fight I wanted. Out of everyone in the division, he is my hardest matchup. All the hard matchups in this division, I’ve taken them out, Chad Mendes, [Jose] Aldo, and Max Holloway,” he continued. “Those were the hardest matchups I believe and taking out Max in his prime back-to-back, that is saying something. That is why I am looking forward to this. I have a new fire in the belly. Winning is not enough for me, I’m going to go out there and finish him, I really am. Obviously, I’m a smart fighter so I’m not going to be stupid in there. I’m very calculated but part of my game plan is to put him away. Everyone knows how I can stick to a game plan.”
Entering the fight, Alex Volkanovski says he has a chip on his shoulder and feels disrespected. He has heard all the talk that Holloway didn’t show up or he got lucky. So, the featherweight champ says he plans on making a statement with a stoppage win in the co-main event of UFC 251.
Volkanovski also believes that if he beats Holloway again, the Hawaiian will be forced to move up to lightweight.
“I don’t think he has a choice. I’m surprised he is taking this rematch straight away. I thought he may want to feel things out and maybe try and get the rematch after some time. Maybe he is like, I’m having one last crack at featherweight if it doesn’t happen, I’m moving up,” he explained. “But, let’s be real, I beat him again, he is not getting another title fight anytime soon. We know he has a big weight cut so he probably has his eye on lightweight. No disrespect to the man, but no one is taking the belt from me, my family, and Australia.”
Ultimately, for Volkanovski, he believes beating Holloway in back-to-back fights only adds to his legacy. He knows he still is a couple of title defenses away from being known as the featherweight GOAT but knows he will get there very soon.
“I’ve done what no one has done if I take out Max back-to-back. I’m also taking Max out in his prime. That is saying something, to take him twice back-to-back, that shoots you right up there. You need defenses if you want to be GOAT. That is why I think Aldo is still the GOAT, to have so many defenses,” he said.” You have to respect someone who can defend and stay on top for so long. I give Aldo the GOAT but I do what I am doing and defend a couple of times, I’m right up there.”
In the end, should Volkanovski get his hand raised, he knows the featherweight division is so stacked that he will have plenty of options of who he fights next.
“Whoever is the name everyone is barking. At the end of the day, it probably is [whoever has] the most impressive performance,” Volkanovski concluded.
Do you think Alex Volkanovski will be able to finish Max Holloway at UFC 251?