Monday, June 17, 2024
HomeSports‘Real’ version shows up in Ilia Topuria rematch

‘Real’ version shows up in Ilia Topuria rematch


Alexander Volkanovski is eager for his chance to run things back with UFC featherweight champion Ilia Topuria.

Volkanovski (26-4 MMA, 13-3 UFC) lost his featherweight title to Topuria (15-0 MMA, 7-0 UFC) by second-round knockout in February at UFC 298. Topuria is angling for his first title defense to be against Max Holloway, then wants a stadium fight vs. Conor McGregor in Spain.

Volkanovski doesn’t put too much stock into Topuria’s bold ambitions and hopes to rematch Topuria if he gets past Holloway. Volkanovski fought Topuria less than four months after getting knocked out by Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 and is confident he’d be a much better version in a rematch against Topuria.

“Ilia is a great fighter – let’s see because the next Volkanovski is going to turn up,” Volkanovski told The AllStar. “The real Volkanovski, I guarantee you that, and let’s see if Ilia can handle that. Again, I’m not taking anything away from him, I’m not saying he can’t. He’s obviously got heavy hands. He’s obviously got good skill, but I want him to be tested against the best version of myself or all the top guys and really prove himself.”

Volkanovski was uncharacteristically tentative against Topuria but said he won’t make that same mistake if they fight again.

“You’re not going to see a timid Volk. You’re going to see a Volk that fights his fight,” Volkanovski said. “You want to be put in front of me and put yourself in a position to land bombs, be ready for one coming straight back at you.”

With Topuria vs. Holloway yet to have a scheduled date, it could be a long wait for Volkanovski. The former featherweight champion is willing to fight again in the meantime – but only at lightweight.

“You find me an exciting fight, maybe in the lightweight division or something, like that that’s fun, maybe because I won’t want to wait too long,” Volkanovski said. “Maybe we could put something out there, but my next featherweight fight is for the belt. Obviously you had a few people call me out, which credit to them. … But believe me: I’m not in that position where I need to fight anybody else but the champ.”

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