Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski was forced out of action when he and his teammates tested positive for COVID-19. Now he details the extent of his health concerns, and they are disheartening to say the least.
Volkanovski was set to defend his title against Brian Ortega at UFC 260 in March. However fans were heartbroken when it was revealed that this fight was canceled, after Alex and a few other members of his team tested positive for coronavirus.
Rather than rebook the bout for a few weeks down the line, the UFC opted to go another route. Instead they decided to have the two featherweights coach the incoming return season of The Ultimate Fighter, with a bout expected to take place in the fall.
Alexander Volkanovski Needed Steroids
As it turns out, a possible reason for the decision to delay Alexander Volkanovski vs Brian Ortega was because of the severity of the champ’s illness. He explained a bit of the when speaking in a recent interview.
As it turns out, it was not just a spat with COVID-19 that Alex had to deal with, as he also got a lung infection that led to him being hospitalized. He was even concerned that the infection was going to spread into his heart.
“Obviously I didn’t want to get it because I didn’t want to miss a fight and all that stuff, but I didn’t think I’d be in too much danger. But for me needing to get hospitalized, me coughing up blood, and then me even needing strong medication like dexamethasone, which is a type of inflammatory steroid. I needed that to knock it off, get rid of the infection. So that surprised me a bit,” Volkanovski said.
“There was times where I was doing the Google doctor thing, as people do. I was asking him about it and I said ‘Doctor can it go into your heart?’ and they go ‘Yeah it can.’ So I go ‘How would you know? What would happen?’
“He goes ‘You’ll get real painful in the chest and your heart rate will go down.’ I was already noticing my heart rate going down when he told me that, and I was like ‘Oh s—t, my heart rate is going down,’ and I had the pain and all that but that’s just because my lungs were sore,” Volkanovski continued.
“That night it went down again, the night after that it went down even further again. So I started panicking and had to talk to the doctor. He goes ‘Don’t worry, it’s not your heart, it’s all good.’ I think a bit of the medication brings it down. I’m just fit, so my heart rate is usually pretty low, but even now I’m pretty low.”
Moving To Lightweight Soon
When Alexander Volkanovski was in the midst of his health battle, it appeared that he had lost some weight. However he is now back to normal, and says that he has returned to training at full capacity.
With this weight packing back on, Alex’s desire to move to lightweight is reinstated. He said that he planned on making the move next year, and even with his fight schedule being delayed this year, he says that it will be sooner rather than later.
“I was expecting to be close to (moving to lightweight) by the end of the year or early next year because I wanted to have a few fights this year. This is a crazy sport. I was hoping to fight early in the year, and I wanted to try and get three in this year. That was what I wanted to do, but obviously that’s barely possible now,” Volkanovski said.
“Ortega is obviously a fight I need to worry about, but I know I’m the best and I’m confident that I’m going to take out whoever’s in front of me. I still plan ahead. People can act like I’m cocky and I’m taking people lightly, I’m not. I’m just that confident in what I can do.”
It is good to see Alexander Volkanovski healthy again, and still planning to be dominant at featherweight. If he can beat Brian Ortega, and get another title defense or two, it will be interesting to see how he could do at lightweight.