The UFC’s featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski has reacted after having the pound-for-pound crown ripped from his grasp.
One of the most prominent points of discussion emerging from last month’s UFC 284 pay-per-view surrounded the MMA leader’s pound-for-pound (P4P) list.
While UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev emerged victorious at the Perth-held event, withstanding the challenge from Alexander Volkanovski across five rounds, the Russian failed to usurp the featherweight titleholder in the P4P rankings.
Although that caused heavy debate, especially given the heavy placement on top spot in the multi-weight ladder being on the line in addition to the 155-pound gold, the controversy was ultimately to be short-lived.
Because, enter Jon Jones.
At UFC 285, Jones returned after over three years away to conquer a new division. Having previously run roughshod over the 205-pound roster, the Rochester native made a quick and successful arrival at heavyweight, submitting Ciryl Gane in one round to win the vacant title.
In addition to the belt, “Bones” also regained his place on the P4P throne.
Prior to the March 4 event, then-P4P king Volkanovski addressed the threat to his position posed by Jones’ return. While he noted he was keen to keep a firm grip on the top step of the ladder, he admitted that a conversation would have to be had should Jones achieve two-division glory.
With that coming to fruition, a conversation was indeed had, and it led to Volkanovski slipping to #2.
Alexander Volkanovski on Jon Jones’ P4P Crowning: “What Do You Do?”
During a recent appearance on Steve-O’s Wild Ride!, Volkanovski provided his thoughts on the shakeup induced by Jones’ triumphant heavyweight debut inside T-Mobile Arena.
While he noted that some external lists have maintained his #1 status, Volkanovski admitted that it’s hard to deny Jones’ claim to top spot despite him competing just once since February 2020.
“Everyone loves talking about it (P4P rankings). It’s a big deal. I’ll be honest with you, (becoming) a champion was great, being pound-for-pound #1 (was greater), which Jon Jones took that from me,” Volkanovski said before laughing. “I don’t think with all of the (rankings), but the UFC, yes… It was just that one (fight in three years), but what he did, moving up, at least he moved up and showed that pound-for-pound comes into play.
“The body of work that we’ve done in the last three years, obviously, a lot of people are gonna be like, ‘Look what Alex has done in the last three years.’ You can get that, but at the same time, look at what Jon Jones has done as well,” Volkanovski continued. “Can I really argue that when you look at it? He’s gonna be one of the greatest of all time. For him to take that is like, ‘Damn it, what do you do?'”
For Volkanovski, after failing to firmly cement the P4P top spot on home soil last month, his focus will seemingly turn back to the featherweight division.
In his absence, an interim titleholder was crowned in the form of Yair Rodríguez. Recent reports have suggested the pair will unify the featherweight titles at UFC 290 in July.
If Volkanovski can add yet another defense added to his reign, perhaps he will move a step closer to a second chance at champ-champ status, and the opportunity to regain his place on the P4P mountaintop.
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