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Alex Volkanovski mourns loss of Aljamain Sterling super fight, sets timeline for chirpless Ilia Topuria title defense

“I definitely gotta go back and reassess some things because if [O’Malley] caught me like that, I can only imagine what Volkanovski would do.” —Aljamain Sterling

Former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) bantamweight champion Aljamain Sterling lost more than his 135-pound title after getting smoked by Sean O’Malley in the UFC 292 pay-per-view (PPV) main event last Sat. night (Aug. 19) in Boston, he also lost the opportunity to join the champ-champ club by challenging reigning featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski.

“Gotta feel for ‘Aljo,’ man. I mean, what does he want to do? He’s definitely going to want that rematch,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “That’s a big, big fight. [Him vs. me] that’s not happening. You never know, if he would have had a big win he could have took Ilia [Topuria’s] spot but [he didn’t]. What’s next for me? ‘Aljo,’ if he was to win in world fashion and called his shot he could have stepped in front of Ilia. Ilia’s been pretty quiet. I thought he’d be chirping, wanting to make sure he gets that fight. Obviously, I want to fight as soon as possible.”

Volkanovski was clamoring for a Islam Makhachev rematch but the lightweight champion is already booked to run it back with Charles Oliveira later this year in Abu Dhabi, so “The Great” will shift his focus to No. 5-ranked featherweight contender Ilia Topuria, who surprised the 145-pound champ with his social media silence in the wake of UFC.

The Aussie is still recovering from last month’s arm surgery.

“I’m able to do a fair bit [regarding the elbow]. I’m already able to post with it, I’m not punching with it yet but I will be,” Volkanovski continued. “I’m staying fit, doing strength, doing everything I need to. I want to be back in there before the end of the year. Islam [Makhachev’s] fighting, I want that rematch, but he’s fighting in October so I want to fight before then. I don’t want to fight early next year. If I was gonna wait that long, it may as well be Islam but I don’t want to wait that long. So, Ilia, keep running your mouth. I like it. Makes me want to punch you in the face even more.”

It should be noted that UFC 296 in Dec. is currently in need of a championship main event.

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