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Alex Volkanovski aiming for March scrap with #1 featherweight contender Brian Ortega

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The featherweight champ explains why a February fight with Ortega couldn’t happen, and what his plans are for 2021.

Alex Volkanovski Media Opportunity Photo by Mark Metcalfe/Getty Images

2020 wasn’t the most active year for Alexander Volkanovski, but it was a good one. He defeated Max Holloway for a second time at UFC 251, holding onto the UFC featherweight title and notching his first defense. And while the controversy surrounding the split decision win almost guarantees a third fight with “Blessed” somewhere down the road, for now he can look forward to new challenges outside of the shadow of the former champ.

Challenges like Brian Ortega, who earned the next shot at the 145 pound strap off an impressive win over “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in October. If the UFC had its way Ortega and Volkanovski would be fighting in February but UFC president Dana White recently said that didn’t come together. In an interview with the South China Morning Post, Volkanovski explained the issue.

“They did throw a date at us,” Alex said. “Which we said we really want that fight, we definitely want it. Let’s just look at this date here, on this card. That was going to work. With everything that has happened on this side of the world, especially we are having more cases here, we’re starting to get lockdowns close to where we are. And obviously New Zealand I do my camps there, we just need a little bit of a notice.”

“We’re working on visas and things like that to get me over to New Zealand as we speak,” he continued. “We’re doing that right now so when the UFC gives us a date we head over there. There’s a lot of things you need to get through. So I just need to know about the fight well in advance so I can do my two-week quarantine and then get into camp.”

“Obviously [2020] been crazy but 2021 hopefully we can change that. The vaccines or whatever it is can make it. I want three fights. March date is looking good. We haven’t heard nothing but March, get me in there.”

There’s no shortages of challenges for Volkanovski to face, including one Henry Cejudo, who continues to spend a lot of his time challenging champions in various weight classes for a retired guy. Volkanovski thinks the chances of “Triple C” returning in 2021 are high, but it’ll take the UFC coming to the table financially to do it.

“It’s gotta be the right fight, the right money,” Volkanovski said. “But is the UFC willing to give him that money? He’s chasing that pay cheque but is the UFC gonna give him that? If they do, then he’ll be back.”