Alexander Volkanovski wants his shot at becoming the next Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion so badly that he is willing to fly to Abu Dhabi to be the backup at UFC 280 on Oct. 22, 2022.
Islam Makhachev and former 155-pound champion, Charles Oliveira, are set to headline the stacked pay-per-view (PPV) event, but if something should happen to either of them, “The Great” will be in shape and ready to fill the void at the drop of a hat.
“I want to get back in there, believe it or not,” Volkanovski told Daniel Cormier during a recent interview. “I am still training. If they need a backup fighter, I am going to be the guy that is going to be there. I am telling them that I am going to be there and I want to be the backup.”
Days after Volkanovski defeated Max Holloway for the third time in UFC 276’s main event, “The Great” announced that he was headed for thumb surgery after he suffered an injury in the trilogy fight. And though he currently has a cast on his left hand, Volkanovski is confident he will be fully healed by then.
“I am going to be fit enough and I am going to get enough of a camp for my fitness and I will do it,” he said. “That’s the type of guy I am. Again as I always say I will make sure no one else takes the opportunity away from me.
“Because if someone else goes and does that then that means I am going to wait a little longer and I don’t want that,” he added. “I am happy to sit there and if someone doesn’t make weight or gets injured I will slip in.”
It’s not out of the ordinary for UFC to enlist a worthy backup and pay them to travel and make weight to serve as insurance plans, so Volkanovski’s chances of getting the nod are pretty good. Furthermore, UFC President, Dana White, has already stated that the current 145-pound champion has done more than enough to move up and fight for the 155-pound strap.
“The Great” is currently on a 22-fight win streak and hasn’t tasted defeat in nearly a decade, going 12-0 so far in his UFC career. Should he eventually move up and win the title, Volkanovski will have a great case to claim the top spot for the pound-for-pound best fighter in the world, currently sitting at No. 2 behind Welterweight kingpin, Kamaru Usman.
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