Reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight titleholder Alexander Volkanovski wants to cement his legacy as one of the greatest mixed martial arts (MMA) fighters in history, but that may require a membership to the “champ champ” club alongside the likes of Conor McGregor and Henry Cejudo, among others.
“I’m planning on staying at featherweight even if I move up, I want to float in both [divisions],” Volkanovski told James Lynch (transcribed by Drake Riggs). “I’m not saying I want to just move to lightweight and stay at lightweight. When people ever ask me if I think of a move to lightweight, it is double champ status, while I still got both belts. The role of lightweight champ and featherweight champ, that’s my vision. Not just fighting in lightweight. Cause I make featherweight reasonably easy so there’s no reason for me to have to move up.”
Volkanovski (23-1) won’t be going anywhere until he defends his 145-pound title against longtime division contender Chan Sung Jung in the UFC 273 pay-per-view (PPV) main event on April 9 at VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville. A victory is likely to send him into battle against former champion Max Holloway for a third (and perhaps final) time.
After that? A direct course for Conor McGregor, who held titles at both featherweight and lightweight — even if it means bumping up to 170 pounds.
“He was a featherweight, he was a champion of my division,” Volkanovski continued. “So I’ve taken out the featherweight champs. That’s the only one left, isn’t it? Me, Aldo, Max, and Conor. So it makes a lot of sense. Obviously, it would be a dream and then I’ve taken out all the other champs in my division so that would be incredible. Obviously, you talk about the payday and all that — the circus around it would be great. But at the same time, talking about legacy, he’s undefeated at featherweight, too. That would mean something. I don’t think he’s making featherweight too soon. If we fight, you do it at any weight. I’d do that at welterweight if I had to, whatever. But at the same time, we’ll see. I’ll just worry about Zombie cause Zombie’s in front of me and we’ll see.”
McGregor is currently healing from a broken leg and has yet to establish a timeline for his Octagon return. If and when “Notorious” does find his way back inside the cage, a potential lightweight title shot awaits, which could in theory allow Volkanovski to move up a division to prove he’s more than just a “little fart” with a rugby ball for a head.