UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski believes his next title defense will come against either The Korean Zombie or Zabit Magomedsharipov.
Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway via controversial split decision at UFC 251, his second straight win over the former long-time champ. The result of the fight was controversial enough that UFC president Dana White hasn’t completely closed the book on Holloway getting a trilogy fight, but the smart money is on the UFC matchmakers choosing a fresh opponent to fight Volkanovski for his next title defense.
Speaking to Big Sports Breakfast on Sky Sports Radio, Volkanovski was asked who he believes is next in line, and he listed The Korean Zombie and Magomedsharipov as the two men who he believes are at the top of the pecking order.
“Well, there’s a few. We got like probably four guys that are like all in the same boat, they’re all probably one win away from being the No. 1 contender. They’re all like just there but they just need to have that fight and everybody is going to be screaming their name. Now that I got the win, let the division play out, then hopefully by the end of the year they got that No. 1 contender,” Volkanovski said.
“But right now there’s a couple of frontrunners, maybe Zombie and Zabit, I’d say they’re probably the frontrunners. If they get a win they’ll be clear ahead of the No. 1 contenders and I look forward to taking them on.”
The Korean Zombie is set to fight rival Brian Ortega, while Magomedshairpov is supposed to fight Yair Rodriguez later this summer. Those are the four men who Volkanovski believes are next in line for his belt, and you can also include Calvin Kattar at the end of that list, but whoever wants the title shot needs one more big win in the eyes of the champion.
The Korean Zombie is coming off of back-to-back knockout wins over Renato Moicano and Frankie Edgar and is 3-1 overall since returning to the sport in 2017. As for Magomedsharipov, he’s on a 14-fight win streak and is a perfect 6-0 in the UFC including a win over Kattar in his last fight. It’s easy to see why Volkanovski believes both fighters could be next in line for his belt, but ultimately the UFC matchmakers will make the call.
Who do you think Alex Volkanovski should fight next, The Korean Zombie, Zabit Magomedsharipov, or someone else?