Ilia Topuria says he’s the clear next challenger to face Alexander Volkanovski and, after watching the Australian’s latest title defense, the Spanish contender says he knows he has the champion’s number.

Topuria was cageside at UFC 290 to witness Alexander Volkanovski’s dominant performance to defeat interim champ Yair Rodriguez in Las Vegas. But, when asked what he thought of the Aussie’s display, Topuria evoked memories of Georges St-Pierre with his response.

“I wasn’t impressed by his performance,” he told BT Sport backstage at T-Mobile Arena.

“It was the most boring fight I have ever seen in my life. Very boring fight. I didn’t like the fight, to watch.”

Topuria criticized the performance of interim champion Yair Rodriguez, saying the Mexican looked like he was “defeated before it began,” but said witnessing Volkanovski in action at close quarters has only served to raise his anticipation ahead of a possible bout between the two further down the line.

“It’s a great motivation for me,” he said.

“He’s a great champion, he defended the belt many times, he’s the pound-for-pound number one. So, it’s a big challenge. And, at the same time, a big motivation for me to beat someone like him.”

Topuria thinks that opportunity could come sooner rather than later, with his most recent performance, a dominant victory over former interim title challenger Josh Emmett, putting him right in the thick of the championship picture at 145 pounds.

Topuria thinks he’ll be the next man to face Volkanovski, despite the Australian’s desire to rematch Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title after narrowly losing out to the Russian in their first meeting at UFC 283 in February.

“Yeah, of course. He’s gonna have to face me, because I don’t know if they’re gonna give Islam the chance to defend the belt again with a 145 guy,” Topuria suggested.

“They don’t want to stack the division up at 155, so he’s going to have to face me.

“I don’t know what’s going to happen with his shoulder. But if he’s fine (and) he’s good, we’re going to have a fight in December.”

If the fight does get signed and Topuria challenges Volkanovski for the undisputed featherweight title later this year, the undefeated contender said he’s confident that he has the edge over the long-reigning champion, wherever the fight goes.

“I see myself much better than him everywhere,” he stated.

“In the striking, with my hands, I can knock him out. I can take him down and submit him.

“There’s so many ways that I can finish him. I don’t know. You’re gonna see what’s going to happen in December when we’re gonna face each other.”