UFC’s undisputed featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski had his eyes set on the next opponent before leaving the UFC octagon at UFC 290.
After dispatching Yair Rodriguez in the main event of the International Fight Week headliner, ‘The Great’ set his eyes on the rising contender Ilia Topuria who was in attendance.
Alexander Volkanovski went up against interim champion Yair Rodriguez, the most lethal opponent (as per Volk) in his title reign so far. The title unification fight saw Volkanovski negate Yair’s dynamic striking and employ a smart grappling strategy. The champion finished the bloodied and busted ‘El Pantera’ in the third round to secure the fifth successful defense of his 145 lbs title.
Alexander Volkanovski showed interest in fighting Topuria for his next title defense and encountered him on his way back from the octagon. Both men sized each other up for a brief while. You can watch the video below, courtesy of @ufc Twitter handle:
“You’re a little bit taller…! Eh mate! You can actually see what happened tonight!” Volkanovski said to Topuria.
The 26-year-old kept an intense stare and stayed in Volkanovski’s face to mouth a few words. However, the champion refused to engage further and moved on.
Alexander Volkanovski vs. Ilia Topuria might take a while to materialize
Ilia Topuria is coming off a dominant decision win over Josh Emmett and seems primed to take on the big step ahead in the competition. Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria have gone back and forth for quite a while.
During his post-fight interview at UFC 290, Volkanovski stated his desire to get a second crack at the lightweight belt and his intention to take on Topuria as well. However, a potential surgery might keep the champion out for a while:
“I’ll be completely honest with ya’ll… I need to get a little bit of surgery on my arm. Going through the camp was a little bit of a struggle but I was always gonna turn up and do my thing! But I’m gonna get that surgery as soon as I get home.”
“Ey, I want that lightweight belt. I’m still coming for that. Whoever’s next… Ilia [Topuria] has been running his mouth.”
Watch Alexander Volkanovski make the statement below, courtesy of the @ufc Instagram account:
‘The Great’ has defeated some of the best fighters of his generation. If he successfully defends his title against a next-generation contender like Ilia Topuria, it will be another feather in his cap.