UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski says his upcoming trilogy fight with Max Holloway is the biggest bout available to him, but he revealed he has even bigger plans than simply dominating the 145-pound division.
Volkanovski takes on former champion Holloway in the co-main event of UFC 276 in Las Vegas on Saturday night, and the Australian said that the matchup with his familiar foe was the common-sense booking for him, given how the division has panned out of late.
“It’s the biggest fight I can do right now,” he told reporters at media day at the UFC Apex ahead of fight night in Vegas.
“Everyone wants to see it, right? I’ll give him credit. he was stubborn and goes, ‘There ain’t no one taking that number one contender spot from me.’ That’s what he did.
“He stood there and took out the guys and didn’t let them have a shot at me. So now he gets a shot, good on him – that’s exactly what I would do in the same situation. So now he’s obviously getting credited with a third chance. So he’s done what he was meant to do, so good on him.”
Given the fact that the pair have battled to the scorecards twice before in five-round championship bouts, they know each other very well. But the fact that both men evolved significantly from fight to fight, and even adapted their gameplans mid-fight in their second meeting, means the third instalment could look different to both of the previous two bouts.
“Obviously, there’s going to be different strategies and how we approach it” said Volkanovski.
“There’s going to be things that know he’s going to do. But, at the same time, my style and where I’m at right now will definitely be enough to deal with whatever challenges come forward.
“But I’m expecting Max to maybe even switch things up. I’m still expecting that chess match and strategy and all that type of stuff. So I need to be on and I will be on fight night.”
Volkanovski is clearly confident of victory over a man he has already beaten twice before. And, while he remains focused on the job at hand, he also said he has ambitions of becoming a two-division champion, and even wants to compete across two weight classes at the same time.
When asked about moving up to the lightweight division, and what type of fight he’d prefer if he moved up, Volkanovski replied, “Man, it has to be for the belt. I think I deserve that. I want to go for that double champ status. But you know, let’s worry about Max this weekend. But yeah, I definitely see myself calling for for whoever has that belt.”
But overall, Volkanovski wants to continue to test himself, and sees the possibility of battling on two fronts – at 145 and 155 pounds – as the perfect way to take himself to the next level.
“There’s big names in that division. Whoever has that belt will be a big fight, Purely just me fighting for another belt is going to be massive. But yeah, man, there’s plenty of good fights there, and I’d love it, and I don’t want to just move up and let that belt go.
“You see (that) I want to be active – I just fought a few months ago. I don’t know if one division can keep me busy enough. Give me two divisions, then! I’ll keep them both busy. And again, I want to be active, and two divisions will definitely help with that.”