Ilia Topuria is the real deal.
At UFC Jacksonville this past weekend (June 24, 2023), the Featherweight division hosted a coming-out party for Spain’s finest. Topuria was slotted into his first headliner opposite recent interim title challenger, Josh Emmett. Utilizing the full five-round experience, Topuria battered Emmett from pillar to post and nearly finished him in round four before ultimately earning a lopsided unanimous decision.
Topuria, 26, is unbeaten in 14 professional fights (6-0 in UFC) and will surely climb the rankings from his No. 9 spot when the update releases tomorrow (Tues., June 27, 2023). “El Matador” now only has one goal in mind and that’s dethroning UFC Featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski.
“No f—king problem,” Topuria said on The MMA Hour. “If I think I’m the best in the world, I can beat him in Australia, in Las Vegas, in Miami, in Spain, wherever we go, I beat him. Location is no problem.
“Right now, I’m really focused on getting that championship belt,” he continued. “I want to get that title fight, which I know that I deserve. But if they come out with some offer to go to Spain and make a fight in Spain with Max Holloway maybe, because if they told me to go to Spain to fight someone unknown, I’m not going to ask for that fight because I want to go for that belt. But if they come out and they told me, ‘We want to take the UFC to Spain and you’re going to fight with Max Holloway,’ I will say, ‘Hell yes, let’s go, let’s do it.’ I want to fight in front of my people.”
Topuria sees either of the options laid out as the most realistic for him going forward. Thanks to his youth, there feels like no need to rush things. He’ll just need to wait and see what happens at UFC 290 on July 8, 2023, when Volkanovski defends against Yair Rodriguez. As for Holloway, “Blessed” also has a fight coming up as he’ll face “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC Singapore on Aug. 26, 2023.
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