UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has reacted to talk of a third consecutive fight with the division’s former champion Max Holloway.
Volkanovski and Holloway have fought twice in the last year. The pair first met in December, when Volkanovski defeated Holloway by decision to capture the featherweight title. They then met in an immediate rematch in July, when Volkanovski won a second decision—this one very controversial—to retain the belt.
Since then, there’s been much discussion about a potential trilogy fight between the pair. Even UFC President Dana White has suggested there are grounds for a third fight, although he acknowledged Volkanovski would likely not be interested at this stage.
“It’s hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight again—do it a third time,” White told ESPN. “I think all of the fans and the media would agree with that. I don’t know for sure.
“I’m sure Volkanovski doesn’t love that idea,” White added. “He’s like, ‘Listen, I just beat this guy twice. You know?’ And if you’re Volkanovski, you’re like, ‘Guess what? The media aren’t judges. Dana White is not a judge. None of these people are judges. The people that are assigned to judge the fight say I won twice.’
“So if you’re Volkanovski, I get it,” White continued. “And if you’re Volkanovski, you probably want to take a look at a different guy. I don’t know. I haven’t really talked to Volkanovski about it. It’s something I definitely need to do. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”
As it turns out, White’s suspicions are accurate. Speaking on Submission Radio this week, Volkanovski explained that his priority is defending his title against a fresh, new contender.
“By the end of the year, we’re going to have a clear No. 1 and you’re going to just keep giving Max rematches? It just doesn’t really make sense right now,” Volkanovski said. “I want No. 1 contenders. I want some fresh blood in there.
“We know that last fight was close but the judges gave me the decision and that’s that,” Volkanovski said. “In the first fight, even though it was competitive, I pretty clearly won that fight. To just give him another rematch straight away and put the division on hold, it just doesn’t really make sense.”
Who do you want to see Alexander Volkanovski fight next?