Alexander Volkanovski is set to defend his featherweight title for the fourth time in the co-main event of UFC 276. Ahead of his third fight with Max Holloway, Volkanovski is looking at the bigger picture.
After three title defenses, Alexander Volkanovski is being considered one of the best featherweights to ever compete. The man he had to defeat twice to gain that respect, Max Holloway, will be lining up across from him for the third time tonight in the co-main event of UFC 276.
One thing that separates him from other champions is the frequency with which he fights. His third bout with Holloway will be Volkanovski’s third defense in nine months. The champion told Cageside Press what drives him to fight that often.
“I don’t know what it is,” Volkanovski said. “I just like to compete. I love the sport. This is how we make our money. I’m in the best shape of my life. I’m at my peak. I feel untouchable. I feel unbeatable. So while we’re here, let’s smash out these fights. I don’t know how many years I have in this sport, so let’s just smash them out.”
A third fight with someone you’ve already defeated twice is rare. However, Volkanovski knows he can’t rely on past experiences to beat the former champion once again.
“I’ve spent 50 minutes in a cage with this guy,” Volkanovski said. “I’ve watched a lot of this guy. He will probably try and come up with something new, which is exciting. That will keeps me on my toes. But at the same time, I know about him. I know that it’s going to be a pace. I know he’s going to turn up, he always turns up. That gets me up in the morning because I know he’s going to show up.”
While Holloway’s approach may change in this third fight as he attempts to get the best of the champion for the first time, Volkanovski’s approach is straight forward: see what Holloway wants to do and adjust.
“My style goes by what’s in front of me,” he said. “Fighting someone like Max has really helped me have this style that covers so much ground. Fighting guys like Max, like Aldo, I mean great athletes, great MMA fighters where you need to be on your toes and make adjustments on the fly. So I’m the type of guy that I’ll do something, I’ll see what answer you have and I’m going to have so many options for that.”
Of course, there’s seemingly plenty of career left for the 33-year-old Volkanovski. This fight, though, is one that could solidify the Australian’s legacy. He doesn’t mind thinking about the greater impact this fight, and the potential win, will have on his career.
“That’s exactly why I took this fight, because of where it puts me,” Volkanovski said. “Again, even if I’ve beat him twice, he’s went out and people think he got better. He’s still considered as one of the greatest featherweights of all time. This is still a legacy fight. This is still a huge fight. He’s still on the pound-for-pound list. Beating someone like that three times in their peak, in their prime? If I go ahead and beat him now, that puts me in a really good position.”
Volkanovski will look to add to that legacy tonight in the co-main event of UFC 276. He’s been training with both headliner Israel Adesanya and featured prelim fighter Brad Riddell for the fight and hopes the trio goes undefeated for the evening.