Alex Volkanovski has revealed that he was close to signing a contract to defend his UFC featherweight title against Max Holloway at UFC 251 in Perth, Australia on June 6th, before the coronavirus pandemic put the world on lockdown.
Volkanovski defeated Holloway via unanimous decision at UFC 245 last year, to become the UFC 145lbs champion. Speaking to MMA junkie, the champion revealed that the rematch is up in the air now.
“It just wasn’t signed, but … I know I was happy with it, I’m pretty sure Max was happy with it. We just didn’t get it done probably because of what was happening. They didn’t want to lock nothing in if they didn’t know, but we still don’t really know exactly what’s happening but it’s not looking good. I’m not going to try and talk the fight up because right now there’s nothing happening but yeah, it was close,” Volkanovski stated.
“I know that’s the fight I wanted to have in Australia. I still think that’s the biggest fight for me. I still think it’s the biggest fight for the division. I still think it’s the biggest fight for the UFC, and if we could still make this Aussie card happen sometime this year, I believe that’s what the Australian fans deserve – a rematch, you know? Max was a great champion and I’ll prove myself once again in front of my home crowd.”
Whilst their first encounter went to the judges’ decision, Volkanovski guarantees that he will finish Holloway in the rematch.
“He’s a great fighter. I’ve got a lot of respect for him as a fighter – so does my team. We gave him the respect he deserves. That’s why I had to go with that game plan. I still think I could have got the finish. I still believe that the finish is there. I still think if we fight again, I’ve got the feeling that I’m going to go out there and finish him inside the five [rounds], definitely.
“To go out there and shut Max like that and outstrike him is really setting a statement. If anyone knows the game, they know that not many people can actually go out there and do that. So that’s saying something. But I believe the next time we face, if that match happens, I’m finishing him inside the five, 100 hundred percent.”
After UFC 249 was postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic, UFC president Dana White has stated that he is confident that the UFC will return on May 9th. Although he hasn’t revealed the location, it is thought to be either at the UFC APEX Center in Las Vegas, or on his Fight Island. And should he be offered to rematch Holloway on Dana’s Fight Island, Volkanovski says he’ll be on board.
“If this island thing is legit, and they can get me on this island to do my camp and then fight, I’m all for it,” Volkanovski said. “Give me a little camp there with my team, even if it’s the [City Kickboxing] boys, even if we’re all on the same card. We all do the camps with each other on the island, and then we fight – 100 percent I’ll be down for that. I think that will be unreal. But we just don’t know what’s happening.”
However, should the Holloway fight full through for any reason, Volkanovski could have another opponent lined up in Henry Cejudo. Responding to ‘Triple C’s’ recent call out, the UFC featherweight champion said he may have to shut up the man they call ‘The King Of Cringe’.
“It seems like he’s challenging everyone but his number one contenders, so whatever. Look: I think, good on him. If you’re calling me out, all right. But I still think he should be focusing on his division and his number one contenders. It literally looks like he’s getting everyone but the number one contenders, and that’s something that I find – I think that’s just embarrassing. I really do believe that,” Volkanovski said.
“I think it is cringey, living up to his name when he’s doing them sorts of things. But again, I wouldn’t mind shutting his mouth up, to be quite honest. But right now, I’ve got a division that I want to hold. And again, he’s just trying to hold onto that bantamweight belt. So if he moves up, he knows I’ll kick his ass, but he’ll still get to hang onto that bantamweight belt a bit longer. If he’s going to be like that, I don’t think he deserves that chance. But you never know.
“If he keeps running his mouth and no one else is ready for a fight, and that’s what fight’s in front of me, I think I’ll do the world a big favour by shutting him up.”
And it didn’t take Cejudo long to hit back at Volkanovski.
Do you think we’ll ever see Alex Volkanovski vs Henry Cejudo? And can the UFC featherweight champion finish Max Holloway in their rematch?