Ahead of this weekend’s Jon Jones-headlined pay-per-view, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski is keeping a tight grip on his pound-for-pound crown.
On Saturday, Jones will make his first walk to the Octagon since a successful defense of the light heavyweight title against Dominick Reyes at UFC 247 in 2020. Soon after, “Bones” vacated the gold amidst a pay dispute with the promotion before committing to a physical transition in preparation for a new challenge.
Now, following a three-year layoff, Jones is set to embark on that task at UFC 285. In the card’s main event, Jones will battle former interim champ Ciryl Gane for the heavyweight throne.
For the second PPV in a row, in addition to championship stakes in a division, it appears that Saturday’s T-Mobile Arena-held event could have a sizable impact on the pound-for-pound rankings.
Whilst Volkanovski currently occupies top spot in that bracket, some have identified Jones as the rightful owner owing to his history dominating the 205-pound weight class.
The Australian, though, has insisted he’ll beat away calls for “Bones” to usurp him — at least until the Rochester native has the heavyweight belt around his waist.
Alex Volkanovski: ‘A Conversation Can Be Had If Jon Jones Beats Gane’
During a recent appearance on mainevent, Volkanovski was asked for his take on Jones’ P4P credentials. Those particular rankings have been a heavy talking point ever since the Aussie’s failed bid for champ-champ status at UFC 284 last month.
In terms of who is currently the world’s pound-for-pound best, Volkanovski relied on the official UFC rankings to back himself over Jones, who previously occupied the position courtesy of his legendary exploits at light heavyweight.
“I guess I’ll go with what the rankings actually say,” Volkanovski said before laughing. “You look at Jon Jones and what he’s done, and all that type of stuff, you can see why his name’s always gonna be there as well. Again, there’s all types of conversations around that, but I’mma take that #1 pound-for-pound (spot). I’m gonna hold that.”
However, “Alexander the Great” acknowledged Jones’ incredible career, admitting that him successfully achieving title glory in a second weight class this weekend would make a “conversation” on who holds the P4P crown necessary.
“He’s moving up a division, too, moving up and going for the heavyweight title now as well,” Volkanovski noted. “So defending the light heavyweight championship how many times? And now he’s moving up against a real contender… So, he goes and takes that, obviously that’s a conversation that needs to be had.”
Despite that, Volkanovski did offer one final piece of evidence in his favor, insisting that the competitive nature of the fighters’ divisions needs to be considered.
“But then you look at how competitive the divisions are as well. So you gotta look at that.”
Given the superior reputation that both the featherweight and lightweight divisions have had over the promotion’s two heaviest in recent years, that would likely mark a point in Volkanovski’s favor.
While Volkanovski’s champion vs. champion superfight in Perth last month was billed as a battle for the P4P throne, as well as the Dagestani’s lightweight title, the Aussie’s valiant losing performance was enough to keep himself in top position.
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