Alexander Volkanovski Wants Next Challenger To Earn Shot, Favors Korean Zombie Over Brian Ortega

Volkanovski Is Looking For His Next Title Defense To Be Against A Featherweight Who Has Undoubtedly Earned The Next Crack At The Title

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UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski wants a big fight for his next title defense.

Volkanovski is coming off his first title defense after a close split decision victory over Max Holloway in their UFC 251 rematch in July.

Now looking ahead to new opponents, “The Great” is keeping an eye on the contenders below him. As for who he wants to fight next, he has no preference in particular. However, Volkanovski just wants one fighter to stand out from the rest in the next few months.

“I want to fight the best fighter that is next in line,” Volkanovski told MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck. I don’t care who it is, because I believe I’m a bad matchup for any of the guys in my division.

“I’m not scared of anybody. I just want you to be that guy. I want you to be the guy that earns that shot and the one that everyone’s talking about.”

Volkanovski Viewing Zombie vs. Ortega As No. 1 Contender Fight

The featherweight headliner between The Korean Zombie and Brian Ortega on October 17 is the number one contender fight in the view of many observers, Volkanovski included.

And the Aussie will certainly be watching with a keen eye.

“Luckily, we finally have a fight that will probably be a No. 1 contender fight in Ortega and Zombie,” Volkanovski added. “The only one who’s been doing anything in the last six or seven months is [Calvin] Kattar. I have a lot of respect for him, and I have my eye on him because he’ll be there soon. I just don’t think he’s at that spot yet.

“I want a big fight. I want the guy that everyone’s screaming about. I think, whether it’s Zombie or Ortega, whoever wins that fight—especially if they do it in wild fashion—everyone’s gonna be screaming their name. Even if it’s Zabit if he fights Yair, I don’t know if that’s happening. I need one of these guys to go out there and dominate so I can fight them later this year, early next year. That’s what I want. Whoever people think is my hardest fight, that’s the fight for me.”

Zombie Has The Stylistic Advantage

As for how Zombie vs. Ortega pans out, Volkanovski is leaning towards the former and would love the chance to shut him up.

“I reckon it’s Zombie,” Volkanovski said. “Either one of them, I’m excited for them anyway. If any one of them win big, people will scream their name. Stylistically, Zombie has the advantage on the feet, he clever, he looks for counters and tries to set traps. They’re both dangerous on the ground as well. I lean Zombie.

“But who do I want to win? I don’t hate Zombie, but he’s got a team behind him that love to run their mouth. Even though [Ortega] slapped that Jay Park on his team, and good on him, even though you probably shouldn’t be slapping pop stars, but this guy was running his mouth about me as well, so thumbs up for that, but if he slaps up Zombie, it’d be like, haha, that’s what you get for running your mouth.

“If not, and Zombie takes him out, then I get to do the slapping myself. Again, I don’t hate the guy, but it would be good to shut the other team up.”

Zombie has won three of his last four fights and is coming off a first-round TKO win over Frankie Edgar in December last year.

Ortega, meanwhile, hasn’t competed since a TKO loss to Max Holloway in their featherweight title fight back in December 2018.

Published on October 1, 2020 at 3:01 pm
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