Alexander Volkanovski has been flawless at 145 pounds.
“The Great” takes center stage as one-half of the UFC 290 main event this Saturday in Las Vegas. Volkanovski, 34, returns to the division he’s made his name in after a failed February lightweight title bid in his home of Australia.
Standing in the undisputed champion’s way will be the surging interim title holder out of Mexico, Yair Rodriguez. Volkanovski’s attempt at claiming double champ status threw a lot of multi-divisional possibilities into disarray, but because he came up short, nothing was impacted aside from prolonging a title defense. One of the names who had been calling for a shot this year was the former flyweight and bantamweight titlist Henry Cejudo. Constantly labeling Volkanovski as “The Average,” Cejudo hoped to eventually take a third divisional title off Volkanovski when returning from his three-year retirement. Unfortunately for Cejudo, his overall plans were thwarted via a split decision loss to the current bantamweight king Aljamain Sterling this past May.
Now, “Triple C” is singing Volkanovski’s praises and believes a Rodriguez win can take Australia’s finest to a whole new level.
“Where does a win like this put Alexander Volkanovski?” Cejudo said on his YouTube channel. “What would you rank him? Would he eventually beat out a guy like Jose Aldo? My answer, guys, is 100 percent.
“Not only has he beaten Aldo, he’s gonna surpass his record through numbers, and in the fashion that he’s been doing it he’s been putting out the people who have put out Aldo. He’s done a tremendous job and what’s missing for Alexander Volkanovski after this fight is potentially another belt or another shot at 155 pounds.”
Aldo has long been considered the featherweight division’s all-time best by fans, fighters, and pundits alike in the MMA community. To earn his first crack at gold, Volkanovski had to get through the King of Rio in enemy territory, defeating the legend by unanimous decision. At present, Volkanovski holds wins over every other 145-pound UFC champion aside from Conor McGregor.
It’s been no secret that Volkanovski is in pursuit of as much greatness as is achievable, which was evidenced by his fight with the lightweight champion Islam Makhachev. Despite his best efforts, Volkanovski lost the bout by unanimous decision. Regardless of the outcome, Volkanovski had so much support in his performance that he remained the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC’s official rankings.
Volkanovski still hopes to get his rematch with Makhachev sooner rather than later and make up for their first encounter. Outside of one name at featherweight, Cejudo — amongst most spectators — doesn’t see too many big challenges remaining for The Great.
“There’s only one guy that everybody keeps talking about and his name is Ilia Topuria,” Cejudo said. “But is he ready for a guy that knows how to kick? Is he ready for a guy that is a little shorter than him? You see, Ilia’s 5’7”, Alexander Volkanovski is 5’6”. When you get short fighters to fight each other, sometimes if you’re not accustomed to it, it’ll throw you off. It happened to me against Demetrious Johnson. They bring that little bit of speed that you’re not accustomed to.
“Will a guy like Ilia Topuria have it in him to fight against an experienced vet like Alexander Volkanovski? Is that power gonna be enough to beat a guy like Alexander Volkanovski? I do believe that after this fight, if he does get past Yair Rodriguez, there’s one more fight for him and that is Topuria. After that, he needs to go up to 155 pounds and again challenge for that title.”
CTE. Nate Diaz blasts critics saying he’s got brain damage from fighting: “I’ve been talking this way the whole motherf****** time”
Fallout. Raush Manfio admits “horrible’”performance, wants PFL to end suspensions that ‘benefit’ Shane Burgos
Controversy. Dan Hooker doesn’t regret Islam Makhachev accusation: “O.J. Simpson’s walking around, you know what I mean?”
Between the Links.
UFC 290 Pre-fight presser staredowns.
UFC 290 Pre-fight presser highlights.
Hall of Famer red carpet.
Pros React: Robbie Lawler’s retirement.
Moreno vs. Pantoja preview.
Hall of Fame Free Fights.
Best of Pitbull.
Featherweight GOAT talk.
Adesanya and Jones meet.
Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck discusses Yair Rodriguez’s upset chances, bold predictions for UFC 290.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Two shades of Islam.
Dan hooker is miserable loser lol
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) July 6, 2023
It’s Joe Pyfer.
Dude @ChaelSonnen there’s guys with injuries such as myself that are on the shelf till cleared medically from surgery. As for the ones that declined him that’s on those 3 not an entire division. Be smarter with you’re words talking shit on the active fighters of today. #Bigmouth
— Bodybagz_Pyfer (@joe_pyfer96) July 7, 2023
The one and only.
The nerve Cejudo has to say this the week Aldo goes into the Hall of Fame!
Happy Friday, everyone. Enjoy a surely raucous weekend. Thanks for reading!
Will Alexander Volkanovski be the featherweight GOAT with a win against Yair Rodriguez?
This poll is closed
Depends how he wins
307 votes total