Top-ranked Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight contender, Alexander Volkanovski, doesn’t need another victory to secure a shot at the 145-pound title, he needs another manager.
One who is as skilled at the art of negotiations like the legendary Ali Abdelaziz.
It turns out Abdelaziz is the one who convinced promotion president, Dana White, to give Frankie Edgar the next shot at Max Holloway’s title, even if it meant passing over “The Great” (and “pissed”) Australian in the wake of UFC 237.
“Dana White is a very emotional guy,” Abdelaziz told The MMA Hour. “He likes Frankie a lot, and that was a big factor of this. But he understands, he looked at Frankie’s career and what he has done. And I know this business is how good have you done for me lately -- this is the type of business we’re in -- but I really went [to that meeting], and everybody thought I was going to talk about Khabib, this or this. I said, ‘Listen, I’m not here to talk about nothing else. I only here to talk about Frankie.’ And I talked and I made my case, and they said, ‘For the first time, you are right. We’re in.’ It’s a bigger fight.”
Volkanovski is ranked No. 1 in the world after defeating Jose Aldo earlier this month in Brazil and was expected to be a lock for Holloway’s next title defense. After all, Edgar has two defeats to Aldo and was recently planished by fellow contender, Brian Ortega.
Perhaps it’s all about the timing.
“I think, also timing, the UFC is talking about going to Australia, right? When you save this fight card for Australia [at UFC 243], you have Max or Frankie fighting Alex,” Abdelaziz said. “It’s timing too. From a business standpoint, it’s better for the UFC to have Alex to fight later if they still can have the Australia card, right? Because if they have Adesanya vs. Whittaker, Frankie vs. Alex or Max vs. Alex, the winner, in a business way it works out.”
And it certainly works out for Abdelaziz in a business way, as he now gets a cut of the championship purse.