Alexander Volkanovski spoke about his ways of overcoming mental health problems

Former UFC featherweight champion and pound-for-pound king Alexander Volkanovski sets his sights on an ‘exciting’ nine-month return deadline.

Had Alexander Volkanovski gotten his way, ‘The Great’ would have made a stunning return to the octagon to face Michael Chandler last weekend in Las Vegas.

Yet with a shot at the UFC featherweight title already guaranteed by the promotion, Volkanovski isn’t eyeing a fight with yet another contender but ‘big fights’ up at lightweight – potentially against two former UFC champions.

Alexander Volkanovski called the UFC over Conor McGregor withdrawal

Following Conor McGregor’s withdrawal from UFC 303 with injury and despite initially wanting some time away from the sport for recovery, Alexander Volkanovski still raised his hand to be a potential replacement for ‘Notorious’.

Speaking via the Freestylebender YouTube channel, the former featherweight and pound-for-pound king revealed that he was the one who called the UFC to ask if they needed someone to step in – not the other way around.

“I rang them, so I was pestering them. They didn’t call me; I think they just have a respect for me because they probably knew that I would say yes… They’re like ‘You’re a savage’, and I go ‘No I’m serious – ‘We know you are!’”

Whilst the short-notice call-up for UFC 303 failed to materialize, Volkanovski has now revealed his plans for at least the next nine to 12 months.

Alexander Volkanovski eyes return to lightweight as he awaits winner of Max vs Ilia

As of July 2024, the 26-4 Australian sits in a decidedly unusual situation; having already secured a shot at regaining the featherweight title thanks to his domination of the division as then-champion, but knowing Max Holloway will undoubtedly be next in line for Ilia Topuria.

So, what’s next for Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski?

Well, if the former champion gets his way, his next fight will either be for that 145lb title, or an “exciting big fight” at lightweight.

“In featherweight, it’s obviously just the rematch and the belt right, that’s big and then to be honest, exciting big fights – I like that… With featherweight, I’m still that competitor where I’m like ‘This is my division, I’m getting it back, I want that win back’ but then at lightweight, let’s have some fun while we’re waiting.

“I think they’re probably going do Max and Ilia [in] September because I told the UFC I didn’t want to fight till later in the year; I really committed to that in my head [but] now I started training I’m like ‘I wish I didn’t tell them that’.”

Alexander Volkanovski acknowledged that his situation surrounding the UFC featherweight title is “funny but fair,” as he noted that he doesn’t want to wait too long for a shot at reclaiming his belt.

“Now I did say that I don’t want to wait too long either and I’m in a position now where if they do that and they want me to fight in March or April [2025] – I’m going to fight at lightweight.”

‘The Great’ had two names in mind for who could welcome him back to the 155lb division, both of whom have also held onto that shiny gold title in the past.

“I want exciting fights, you know Charles Oliveira, I did call out [Dustin] Poirier after that when I thought that. He’s a great dude, we get along and I think he’s a great man, and he’s obviously a big fun fight.”

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