MMA fighting

Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t mind UFC making interim featherweight belt: ‘It’s just going to make for a bigger fight’

Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t mind if the UFC creates an interim featherweight title.

Last weekend at UFC Long Island, Yair Rodriguez defeated Brian Ortega by first-round TKO when Ortega suffered a shoulder injury in a grappling exchange. The bizarre result left the featherweight title picture hanging in the air, but afterwards UFC president Dana White said the promotion may be looking to make an interim title fight between Rodriguez and Josh Emmett, while waiting for Volkanovski to recover from hand surgery. And the undisputed featherweight champion is totally okay with that.

“To be honest, I don’t mind the idea while I’m sitting here. [injured]”, said Volkanovski on Monday on MMA hour. “There’s no clear – for this No. 1 candidate, is there? Let them fight for this No. 1 candidate, because I think they both deserve it. They are both in a position where they could get shot. Are they yelling where it needs to be them before everyone else? No, not really. So let them fight for this candidate # 1. If it’s for the interim belt and then we’ll fight, honey. Because like I told you, I’m not lying when I say I want to be active. They can go do that, I’ll do my thing, and I’m telling you, a few months later, get me back in there, I’ll do it.

“A perfect world for me, the lightweight title early next year, then if they do this interim thing, if that happens, it will make a bigger fight anyway, so I don’t mind. “, continued Volkanovski. “And then you have a clearly No. 1 guy. Everyone is going to be screaming his name, whoever wins between Josh Emmett and Rodriguez. And then they can both say they’re fighting for a belt, they can go for it, and then when we fight, it’s another big fight. So the idea doesn’t bother me, to be honest.

The idea may not bother Volkanovski, but a certain segment of fans does not support it. While Volkanovski was defending his title just a few weeks ago, some fans argue that creating an interim title now would diminish the champion’s belt, but Volkanovski doesn’t see it that way. As MMA Fighting’s pound-for-pound best fighter in the sport, Volkanovski thinks the creation of an interim title will only serve to make his next fight even bigger.

“No, why does that weaken my title? said Volkanovski. “I don’t think that’s the case at all. Will anyone say he’s the real champion? I do not think so. Everyone is going to consider me the real champion anyway. And if for some reason that waters it down and all of a sudden this guy gets all this hype, that makes my next fight with them even bigger. So anyway, I’m still going to get the championship money, still the pay-per-views, so it doesn’t matter. If they want to hype the way they want to, it doesn’t matter. At the end of the day, I know that I am a champion and everyone knows it too.

For Volkanovski, his openness to an interim title stems from his desire to face the real top contenders in his division. ‘The Great’ defended his belt four times, but two of them came up against former champion Max Holloway, in part because Holloway kept winning fights to put himself in position to fight for the title .

That’s what Volkanovski expects of other featherweight contenders right now.

“There are so many guys that, yeah, they’ve had a winning streak and everything, but let’s knock out a few top guys,” Volkanovski said.

“Again, I’m a nice guy. I understand. But at the same time, does that mean I just have to hand out title fights to people who don’t deserve them? Where does this lead me? Nobody will care about them. Let them talk about themselves. Let everyone shout his name or say, “It’s him!” I could be in a room and ask 10 people and they will all say someone different or say no one. So let’s get that #1 contender, especially while this [injury] has passed.

“Then when I ask those same 10 people in this room, we all know who the answer will be: whoever wins this fight. And that makes a lot of sense to me.