Alexander Volkanovski wants Max Holloway rematch at UFC 251, fires back at 'Korean Zombie'

LAS VEGAS – Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is zeroing in on a rematch with Max Holloway on home soil at UFC 251.

Volkanovski (21-1 MMA, 8-0 UFC) is a likely candidate to headline the June 6 event in Perth, Australia, but said nothing is set in stone as of now. He’s in Las Vegas supporting teammate Israel Adesanya at UFC 248, and while in town expects to have a productive discussion with the UFC brass regarding the details of his next fight.

Although Volkanovski is still dealing with a lingering hand injury from when he beat Holloway (21-5 MMA, 17-5 UFC) by unanimous decision to take the title at UFC 245 in December, he said he will advance his recovery timeline to ensure he competes at the event. When looking at the lay of the land at 145 pounds, he thinks a second encounter with “Blessed” is most logical.

“Everyone knows I want to be on that card, and everyone knows that the UFC want me on that card, and a lot of people are saying they want Max, as well,” Volkanovski told MMA Junkie on Friday. “I think the biggest fight would be Max. I think for the division, for myself, and for the UFC, that is probably the fight to make.”

A second option to Holloway as an opponent seemingly was Chan Sung Jung, but “The Korean Zombie” told MMA Junkie on Thursday that he’s still recovering from a recent eye surgery and his timeline doesn’t match up with the champ’s. That’s a fight that has potential to happen eventually, though, especially after the two crossed paths this week in “Sin City.”

Jung said that he saw fear when he saw Volkanovski face-to-face, but Volkanovski said his retelling of events is inaccurate.

“He was respectful, so I don’t know if he’s still trying to play that card,” Volkanovski said. “Now there’s a camera in front of him, he says we were in each other’s face and we almost went to blows. Nah. We’re both pretty respectful guys. At the same time, he can say what he wants, and I’m sure the talk is going to keep going. If that fight does happen, I’m sure I’m going to do to him what I’ve done to everyone else.”

With Jung unavailable, there doesn’t appear to be any opponent more fitting than Holloway, who ran through the divisional rankings before his fight with Volkanovski. In the immediate fallout of UFC 245, Volkanovski distanced himself from the idea of fighting Holloway again right away. His tune has since changed, though, and he said the rematch is what he wants most.

“There’s no one else,” Volkanovski said. “I did win that fight convincingly. I believe I won all five (rounds), and a lot of people did believe that, as well. But at the same time, there’s no clear No. 1 contender. … Just to prove I’m the best featherweight in the world, and even to prove I’m the best featherweight of all time, I think I need to beat him again.

“I’m not the type to say I’m fighting for legacy and stuff, but for me right now, I think that puts me in a really good position – especially if I take him out. That will really solidify myself as one of the best in the division.”

5 months ago

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