Ilia Topuria ‘Not Impressed At All’ With Alex Volkanovski, Predicts He’ll KO ‘The Great’ In One Round

Topuria talks about a potential fight with Volkanovski, as well as his performance at UFC 290.

Topuria Volk
(via @iliatopuria - Instagram)

Ilia Topuria doesn’t think ‘The Great’ is all that great. 

Topuria’s Take-Away From UFC 290: Volkanovski Is ‘Nothing Special’

Alexander Volkanovski proved once again why he’s the best featherweight in the world when he finished Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 last weekend. The UFC Featherweight Champion’s stellar performance might have been praised by the masses, but it would not hit the same note with top-ranked contender Ilia Topuria.

“Nothing special,” Topuria said of Volkanovski on The MMA Hour. “He did what he was supposed to do. He did a good job in the fight. He took him down, ground and pound. Yeah, he did what he was supposed to do.

“I wasn’t impressed at all. I saw what I was supposed to see, beat him. I never liked Yair, his fight style…. It’s like, you don’t even have to take him down, the guy just goes to the floor alone. I don’t like his fight style.”

Topuria’s Confidence At All-Time High

Topuria is thought to be the next title challenger for Volkanovski, especially after his break-out performance against Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville. ‘El Matador’ is more than ready to wave the metaphorical red flag at the champ.

“It was always great, my confidence always was,” Topuria said of a potential fight with Volkanovski. “I had always too much confidence in myself. I didn’t have any doubt that I can beat him like pretty easy, you know? People think that this is the toughest fight [for me]. He says that I’m the easiest fight he’s gonna have in his whole career. We’ll see, we’ll see. Keep that same energy, champ.”

First Impressions From Face-Off

After unifying the title against Rodriguez, Volkanovski would run into no other than Topuria cageside. The two featherweights faced off and exchanged words for the first time.

“I was in the first line, he was walking out,” Topuria recalled his encounter with Volkanovski at UFC 290. “He saw me and he called me. I jumped [the barrier] and we did the face-to-face. I just saw small and a short guy. He asked me like, you ready? I answered him, ‘I was born ready’. I’m short, but he’s even shorter than me. He got a problem… He knows that I’m the next guy on the line. I earned that. I earned that title [shot]. He can’t escape that.”

‘He’s Looking For An Easy Way Out’

There are two probable options for Volkanovski at this stage of his career: stay at 145 and defend his title against Topuria or move up to 155 to fight Islam Makhachev for double-champ status.

Topuria explains why he thinks Volkanovski would choose a fight with Makhachev over him.

“I think that he’s looking for an easy way [out] because he wants to go up to 155,” Topuria continued. “Because he knows that he already fought with Islam, right? They both are in the same level. They went to decision, so he had like more to win and nothing to lose in 155, but standing at 145, he has like a lot to lose because once he gonna lose the fight with me, he gonna lose the belt.

“So, he [won’t] have the chance to go up to 155 again. So he wanna do that now. But if that gonna happen, I didn’t have any problem. I can wait. One of the best skills I have is patience.”

Topuria’s Prediction For Volkanovski Fight

Unlike his five-round war with Emmett, Topuria doesn’t see the eventual fight with Volkanovski going the distance. The undefeated fighter believes he’ll dethrone the champion by way of knockout.

“I see knocking him out in the first two rounds,” Topuria predicted. “I see myself knocking him out, maybe in the first round. He’s the type of fighter that goes forward. You can’t do that with me… I’m gonna finish in the first round. If no one did that, I will be the first person.”

Published on July 10, 2023 at 5:02 pm
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