Alexander Volkanovski is ready to serve Ilia Topuria a big slice of humble pie come February 17.
After stringing together 14 straight wins in his MMA career, the last six coming under the UFC banner, Ilia Topuria will step into the biggest fight of his career when he meets reigning and defending featherweight world champion Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 297 main event.
Since earning his shot with a decisive decision victory over Josh Emmett in June, ‘El Matador’ has been brimming with confidence. So much so that on social media, he has already updated his profile to read “UFC world champion.”
And don’t think Alexander Volkanovski didn’t notice.
“He’s doing everything right,” Volkanovski told David Adesanya on the FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel. “The hype is there already. He’s doing this. He’s undefeated. He’s talking and people are lapping it up. And for me, I get to play this experienced champion and I’m just gonna humble the dude. Time will tell. At the press conference in a couple of days, your words are going to be much different. Someone’s gonna have to go onto their bio on Instagram and change it themselves. What a humbling experience that’s going to be and I’m going to make sure… I don’t want his manager, his trainer, or his wife doing it. I want him personally to change that to 14-1 or whatever he’s going to change it to.
“He needs to do that because for me, and this is how I’ve always been. You earn your spot. Earned, not given. That’s just being who I am. And I’m not saying he hasn’t earned this shot, but again, let’s be real. Look at the way that I had to get to the title. The way a lot of people had to get to the title. I’m glad he’s in this position. I wouldn’t want anyone else in front of me other than him right now.”
“Someone’s gonna have to go onto their bio on Instagram and change it themselves. What a humbling experience that will be.” – Alexander Volkanovski pic.twitter.com/5soKpjh7cN
— Full Violence ™ (@Full_Violence) February 6, 2024
Volkanovski goes into his sixth featherweight title defense with a 13-2 inside the Octagon. His only two defeats have come at the hands of 155-pound champ Islam Makhachev who bested Volk not once, but twice in 2023. Volkanovski has never lost while fighting in the UFC’s featherweight division.
“He’s already acting like he’s a champion,” Vokanovski added. “He thinks he’s some kind of superstar already. That all changes on February 17. He’s going to have a rude shock and he’s going to have to eat a big humble pie and I get to do that.”
Alexander Volkanovski Weighs In on BMF Clash Between Justin Gaethje and Max Holloway
One of Alexander Volkanovski’s greatest foes inside the Octagon — Max Holloway — will return to action on April 13 as part of the promotion’s landmark event, UFC 300. ‘Blessed’ will face lightweight fan favorite Justin Gaethje for the BMF title.
Asked his thoughts on the intriguing matchup between two of MMA’s most explosive gunslingers, Volkanovski said:
“It’s a fun one,” Volkanovski said. “I’m looking forward to that. It’ll be interesting to see. Gaethje, we know his style. He’s gonna try to find that chin and find it hard and he puts everything… He’s still calculated, but he lets them go. I know Max can get hit, but he’s still calculated enough to where you still need a good strategy to land on him. Empty looping shots ain’t gonna land on Max, but Justin Gaethje is more calculated. He doesn’t just throw bombs.
“Max’s chin is just legendary. I’ve been trying to crack that thing for how long now? But you’d think if someone can do it, it’s Gaethje. Someone who’s in a heavier division and someone who you know is going to put 110% into shots that are there. But Max is gonna be there the whole time and he’s shown in some of his fights that he’s mixing it up and using a lot more tools.”
As for who he sees coming out on top, ‘The Great’ expects Justin Gaethje to hang onto his bragging-rights belt, but he’ll need to pull out all the stops to get his hand raised against a legend like Max Holloway.
“If I had to lean toward someone, probably Gaethje, but I do not think it’s going to be a whitewash,” Volkanovski concluded.
Watch the full interview below: