Las Vegas, NV — Awaiting his first title defense, likely a rematch against Max Holloway, featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski stopped by backstage at UFC 248 over the weekend to discuss how he’d changed since winning the 145lb title last year.
Or, more specifically, how he hadn’t. “I haven’t changed,” Volkanovski told media outlets including Cageside Press, “but life has changed a little.”
Without going into specifics, the champ added that “it’s good, it’s what we wanted. We wanted to get that belt. We knew this was going to happen. Now we’re just here, we just adapt. Adapt to whatever it is. Now you’re the champ, you’ve got a shiny belt over your shoulder, and just do your thing.”
Volkanovski’s higher profile is bringing more attention to his team, City Kickboxing, who have emerged as a powerhouse with names like Israel Adesanya, Dan Hooker, and Kai Kara-France alongside the featherweight champion.
That’s a line-up that could really boost a huge card in Australia. With UFC 251 scheduled for Perth, a strong card down under could soon come to fruition.
“That’s what I want. I want to fight on home soil and defend my belt,” said Volkanovski. “I think the Australian fans deserve that. And I’m pretty sure the UFC wants that, I’m certain they want that, and I want that. So we’ll make it happen.”
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) March 9, 2020
Volkanovski claims, however, that an opponent hasn’t been discussed. He’s still waiting to be cleared from a hand injury. That, however, feels more like a formality. Then it’s time for the next in line. “Whoever it is. At the moment, obviously Max’s name is being thrown around a lot in the media, and even Dana White and all that. But again, we really haven’t had that discussion. You know just as much as me.”
A wildcard emerged when Henry Cejudo threw his name in the hat, looking to become the UFC’s first three-weight champion. Cejudo takes on Jose Aldo at UFC 250 in May. “I hope Cejudo’s not taking that fight lightly. Aldo’s no joke,” Volkanovski exclaimed.
“Henry, he’s going to do his thing and talk and try to stay relevant,” observed the Australian. “Good on him. If that does happens and he fights and we do face each other in the octagon, he’ll regret calling me out pretty quick.”
Watch the full press scrum with Alexander Volkanovski from UFC 248 above!