Bryce Mitchell doesn’t agree with Alexander Volkanovki’s claims of a barren Featherweight contender pool.
The reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 145-pound kingpin is taking some time away from his division with hopes of capturing another title. Volkanovski challenges Lightweight titleholder, Islam Makhachev, at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia, on Feb. 11, 2023.
Staying active is a big reason for Volkanovski’s decision to achieve double champion status. Additionally, “The Great” feels the timing is perfect because there are no clear contenders atop Featherweight. As a fighter climbing the ranks, the No. 11-ranked Mitchell couldn’t disagree more with the champion’s assessment.
“Say I knockout Volkanovski cold, okay?” Mitchell told ESPN. “Then go on three fights and knockout three other contenders, I’d be $10 million in the bank, don’t you think?
“Besides lottery tickets and illegal activities, what the f—k else can I do to get $10 million in my bank in three years?” he continued. “I can go knock Alexander Volkanovski the f—k out and get $10 million and I’m tired of him talking about, ‘There’s no other contenders.’ He ain’t fighting the toughest motherf—kers.”
Volkanovski’s title run comprises four successful title defenses to start his 2023 campaign. Wins over Brian Ortega and Chan Sung Jung are sandwiched by the Australia native's rematch and trilogy with Max Holloway, who he took the title from in Dec. 2019. At UFC 284, Volkanovski will have a clear next Featherweight title challenger in either Yair Rodriguez or Josh Emmett as the two battle for interim gold in the night’s co-main event.
As for Mitchell, “Thug Nasty” is currently recovering from a self-admitted beatdown at the hands of Ilia Topuria in Dec. 2022 at UFC 282. Mitchell suffered the first loss of his 16-fight professional career via a second round arm-triangle choke submission (watch highlights).
“He’s getting the easy f—kin’ fights,” Mitchell said. “These contenders are taking each other out. That’s what’s going on. He’s getting paid 100 times what I get paid to fight motherf—kers that aren’t even as hard as motherf—kers I’m fighting. That’s what’s going on.
“So, Alexander Volkanovski, he wants to fight an easy contender?” he concluded. “Right here. Somebody he can just beat up and get paid easy money. Hey, come on, buddy, I’m easy money. Come on.”
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 284: “Islam vs. Volkanovski” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.