Reigning UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski unified the 145-pound belts by stopping interim titleholder Yair Rodriguez in the UFC 290 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night (July 8, 2023) at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ilia Topuria was not impressed.
That’s because the undefeated “Matador” (14-0) already considers himself to be the greatest featherweight of all time, despite the fact he’s currently ranked No. 5 in the 145-pound division and has yet to capture a championship crown.
“He had a good performance, nothing special,” Topuria told Inside Fights (transcribed by MMA News). “No, I wasn’t impressed. I’m not impressed by him, the world can be impressed with him but I’m not and I’m gonna show this to everyone in December, hopefully. I can finish him however I want in the first round, if I want to submit him I’m going to submit him, if I want to knock him out I’m going to knock him out. I’m the greatest featherweight of all time, in front of you right now.”
Aside from Volkanovski, the 145-pound division is also home to former featherweight champion Max Holloway, as well as top contender Arnold Allen. Topuria’s biggest win to date came over Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville last month on ABC.
Might be a little early on that GOAT talk.
No word yet on what the promotion plans to do in terms of Volkanovski’s next fight. There's been talk of an Islam Makhachev rematch at UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi, health permitting, or matchmakers could keep “The Great” on ice until Topuria is ready in December.
For more results and fallout from UFC 290 click here.