Usually when there’s a fighting trilogy, the third fight is perfectly poised with each fighter holding one win over the other. But, in the case of the co-main event at UFC 276, one fighter clearly holds the edge.
Reigning UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has been utterly dominant since he defeated Max Holloway by unanimous decision to win the title back at UFC 245. His first title defence came in a rematch with the Hawaiian, where the Australian prevailed via split decision. He then added two more title defences to his ledger with victories over Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung.
Now, with Holloway back on top of the contenders’ list at 145 pounds, Volkanovski and Holloway are set to meet for a third time. But, despite some not giving the Aussie the credit for his prior two wins over “Blessed,” the defending champ said he wants to make things decisive in the third meeting on July 2.
“Look, I don’t think I have to do anything (to prove myself). But that doesn’t mean I’m not going to try, right?” he told the media in a special press conference in Australia prior to his flight to Las Vegas.
“You know, I’m gonna go out there and I plan on putting a beating on him this time. I really do want to set a statement, you know?
“Obviously, getting a finish or really getting that dominant win will definitely help that legacy that I want, as well. You know, there’s something that I felt like I have talked about, I’ve always wanted to prove to people but you know, I ain’t about that now. But this opportunity is here and I’m gonna take it and it’s gonna be “And still” and I’m gonna put on a good performance. So that’s all that’s gonna happen.”
It’s taken longer than expected for Volkanovski to receive the level of respect his performances inside the octagon have warranted. But, despite still having a few “haters” online, Volkanovski said he’s not concerned about the detractors, even though he’d be more than happy to silence them on July 2.
“It’s quietened down a little bit, so that’s all good. But then I don’t care. That’s what I’ve said, I don’t care about that now,” he said.
“That’s not why I took this fight. It wasn’t just to shut them guys up, you know? I did originally want this trilogy to shut people up. But right now, it’s not about that.
“This fight is going to be a legacy fight for me. You’re gonna get haters no matter what you do, you know what I mean?
“Even after this one, if I go out there and do what I plan on doing there’s still gonna be haters, there’s still going to be people saying stuff. We can’t worry about that. I have used that all as fuel to get me where I am. But right now it’s about me and putting me in a good position after this one.
“I plan on going out there and really putting work on him. Again, he’s a great fighter, I’ll give him a lot of credit. And he’s that number one contender. He’s done great things in this division. It’s probably the reason why he’s even getting the trilogy. And I think really taking him out again will really put my name out there and raise that bar a lot more for me (and) put me in a lot better position.
“So that’s why I’m taking this fight. Not to shut people up. But it will taste good to shut people up at the same time. But that’s not my main drive right now. But yeah. We’re going to silence them. But if they want to keep yapping, let ’em!”