Exclusive: Calvin Kattar Applauds Alex Volkanovski As A Champion: ‘He Accepts All Challenges And Challengers’

Kattar talks all things happening at featherweight.

Volk Espys
(via @alexvolkanovski - Instagram)

Calvin Kattar thinks Alexander Volkanovski is what a champion should be. 

‘The Great’s’ featherweight run has been nothing short of spectacular since his UFC debut back in 2017. Volkanovski won the featherweight title in 2019 and has defended the belt a total of five times. He’d even test the waters at lightweight in search for double-champ status but fell just short of that against Islam Makhachev at UFC 284.

Volkanovski has kept active this year, defeating interim champ Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 in devastating fashion. He looks for one more fight to cap off a surreal 2023.

Kattar’s Road To Recovery

On the other hand, Kattar has been on the sidelines since October where he tore his ACL in his fight with Arnold Allen. It’s been a long road to getting back to 100% but the 35 year-old is almost there. 

“I pride myself in being mentally tough but this one was challenging,” Kattar told Middle Easy regarding his ACL recovery. “It’s a long recovery, slow process, but I’m happy with progress no matter what, no matter how slow it is. So, it was incrementally getting better. One percent every day, you give me that, I’m a happy guy.”

The Featherweight Division ‘Better Not Have Forgotten About Me’

Of course, there’s been a lot of action in the featherweight division since Kattar last fought. Outside of Volkanovski’s success, there’s a new title contender in town as Ilia Topuria broke through the top 5 rankings with a dominating win over Josh Emmett.

Kattar will look to get ‘back in the mix’ once he’s all recovered. 

“Some new [contenders] are emerging a little,” Kattar said of the featherweight division in his absence. “The champs still  doing his thing at the top, so it’s moved slightly. It’s, it’s starting to shift a little bit as it usually does, and I think it’ll continue to shift by years end. But, they better not have forgotten about me ’cause I’m jumping back in the mix soon.”

Featherweight’s Finest

Watching from afar, Kattar reveals the featherweight fighter he is most impressed with and that’s Alexander Volkanovski.

“I’d just say the champ, man. He’s continuing to impress me,” Kattar said of Volkanovski. “I like the way he carries himself as a champ. Even after the surgery he’s got coming up now, he’s saying he wants to get wrapped right back in by the end of the year. That’s just someone that you want in your division with the belt, if it’s not gonna be yourself, because he keeps things moving. He, he accepts all challenges and challengers. That’s what I like, man. I think he’s done a great job up to this point.

“It’s a tall ask for anybody to go out and try to beat the number one pound-for-pound fighter, especially in the division. But I see it as all the same and what better opportunity than to go out and prove that you’re not only the best fighter in your division, but in the world.”

Volkanovski vs. Topuria

With Islam Makhachev rematching Charles Oliveira at lightweight, it looks like Volkanovski will be staying at featherweight for his next fight. The champion will likely meet #5 ranked Topuria in his next title defense.

Kattar believes Volkanovski will probably be too hard to handle for ‘El Matador’.

 “[Topuria] looked great in his fights, but I think Alex is just another level,” Kattar continued. “Yeah, Topuria looks great, but he hasn’t fought the guys that the champ has fought and the champ looks just as great fighting them. So, I think there’s just a different level in that top five. But, we’ll see how it goes.”

Published on July 25, 2023 at 12:28 pm
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