Coach ‘absolutely gutted’ over Alexander Volkanovski title snub

Alex Volkanovski
Image: @ufc on Instagram

After a massive win at UFC 237, it seemed all but certain that Australia’s Alexander Volkanovski was next in line for a crack at the UFC featherweight title. Well, the UFC had other plans as former lightweight champion, Frankie Edgar is now set to get his third shot (including interim) at the featherweight title.

With UFC 243 expected to take place in October down in Australia, an event that’s also likely to be headlined by the highly anticipated middleweight title unification bout between Robert Whittaker and Israel Adesanya, everyone seemed to think that throwing together Volkanovski and current champion, Max Holloway was the best move for the co-headliner.

Sure, that could indeed still happen. It will just have to wait until after Holloway and Edgar go at it in July.

Now dealing with a blood infection following his big unanimous decision win over former featherweight king, Jose Aldo at UFC 237 this past Saturday night, Volkanovski is just resting up. Meanwhile, his head coach at City Kickboxing, Eugene Bareman recently shared his frustrations when getting the news.

“Gutted, mate. Absolutely livid. Livid. Livid,” Bareman told Submission Radio when asked how he reacted to the news. “Like, we talked about this for such a long time. We talked about it, our team talked about. Our goal was to set this scenario up. And for all our knowledge, this is what the UFC were looking for, this is what they wanted. They needed Volko to win that fight, they needed Israel to get into position, and then we’ve got an Australasian super card set up all because of the work that we’ve put in and the position that we’ve put ourselves into. And that was all to get to this goal, to get to that super card. And we were obviously [thinking that] but the UFC was on a different page. We didn’t think so, but yeah, absolutely gutted. Is it not obvious?

“And this has nothing to do with Frankie. I mean, I don’t know Frankie, I don’t know his coaches, I don’t know his management or anything. And it’s not about that Frankie doesn’t deserve it. He probably does deserve it. He just doesn’t deserve it more than Alex Volkonovski deserves it. Unfortunately for Frankie, him and his team advised him to take that risky fight against Brian Ortega. And I fully understand why you gotta do that because you can’t wait around forever, your family has to eat, you have to earn money. But it’s called a risk for a reason.

“And I know Volko already alluded to this, that it’s called a risk for a reason,” he continued. “Unfortunately, he lost, and then he beat Cub Swanson. So now he’s won one fight, now he’s going into the title fight. Well, Volko’s won seven (in a row). Outside of the UFC, he’s 17 in a row. Seven straight, just beat Aldo, who Frankie’s fought twice and never managed to best. The popular opinion out there amongst fans and so-called experts and analysts is that Volko was the next in line, and we were on that same thought train. And to have it ripped out from underneath us is devastating for our team, devastating, to be honest.”

The 20-1 Alexander Volkanovski extended his insane winning streak to 17 with the win over Aldo (six in the UFC). With 30-27 scorecards across the board, the Aussie former Rugby player would out strike the MMA legend 129 to 39 over the course of their three-round affair.

“I thought it was like a masterclass,” Bareman said. “He did everything that we wanted him to do to a T. You don’t always get that kind of success in terms of practicing the game plan and actually bringing the game plan to fruition, but he did everything we asked, and our game plan was on point. Like, me, Joe Lopez and Brad Riddell, we put together something that really came to the forefront in that fight. I was very happy with Alex’s performance and I thought it was a top-notch performance.”

What do you make of the UFC’s decision to go with Edgar next over Volkanovski?

This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 5/16/2019