Alexander Volkanovski took a brutal path to supremacy in the UFC’s featherweight division, defeating the likes of Brian Ortega, Chad Mendes, Jose Aldo, and Max Holloway (twice).
Now, the Australian wants the rest of the division to show the same fight to earn their way to a title shot.
Otherwise, if they don’t, Volkanovski had a brutal warning after his TKO victory over Jung Chan-sung, better known as ‘The Korean Zombie’.
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“Everyone in my division, I’ve been saying it for a while now…. get your s*** together,” he said.
“Earn that No. 1 spot and you get it. If not, you are going to f***ing miss out. It’s that simple.”
Max Holloway was supposed to face Volkanovski in what would have been their third fight before the American pulled out due to injury.
UFC boss Dana White told reporters late on Sunday [AEST] he was not sure who Volkanovski would fight next, making it clear a Holloway trilogy bout is not a given.
The Australian himself echoed those sentiments in a later press conference, declaring he is keeping a close weight on the lightweight division.
“I mean it just depends,” Volkanovski said.
“As we talked about all week, I was saying that [Holloway bout] was a fight I wanted purely for the haters and all that kind of stuff. I didn’t even know the case. I don’t even know if it was scheduled. I don’t even know if he wanted it.
“So we’re going to sit back, talk to the team. Obviously I want the biggest fights and he showed that is probably going to be the biggest fight. We’ll talk to the team, see if he wants it, if the UFC wants it and then make the decision. I’m going to make the right decision for the right reasons.
“I’m in the position where I could do a couple of things. If this division isn’t going to sort itself out and they’re going to sit back and just f***ing sit back and wait for s***, then fine I’ll move up and fight at lightweight.
“I’m an easy champ to understand. Take that No.1 spot, you get that shot. If not, let’s move up. I think we’re in a good position to move up and see what happens in this lightweight title fight and maybe move up because again, I’ve shown I’m levels above in this division.”
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Volkanovski said he is going to be a keen observer should no-one else from the featherweight division prove they deserve a shot at his crown.
“I’ve always said I don’t want to do it but if these guys are going to sit back and expect a title shot given to them while they’re waiting and not taking that No.1 spot, f*** them, fine, I will fight other guys,” he said.
Volkanovski even pointed out he “never used to be like that”, shying away from the risky fights, in a pursuit of glory.
“If you remember what I was always doing, I was always chasing that title fight, doing everything I could fighting the toughest guys in their hometown, doing the s*** no-one would do, just so no-one could take the No.1 spot from me,” he said.
“No-one is f***ing do that and it sort of pisses me off. If you miss out that’s f***ing on you, not me. I won’t feel bad… get over it.”
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And if there were any doubts over how Volkanovski could fare in the lightweight division, the Australian says previous fights at different weights are proof he can dominate at 155 pounds.
“I don’t think I need to [pack weight on],” he said.
“I’m pretty strong for the featherweight division. I’m strong for the lightweight division too. Most of my sparring partners are lightweights and welterweights. I fought at middleweight, people forget, we talk about pound-for-pound, I’m undefeated at middleweight, my only loss is at welterweight. I’m undefeated in every other division.
“Look what I’m doing to some of these guys, I’ve fought at all of these different weights, we talk about pound-for-pound, I mean it’s there, I’ve shown you what I can do. I’m owning that crown so from now so Volk is coming for everyone. Lightweight division watch out.”
There could be a wildcard option for Volkanovski though, with Henry Cejudo hinting on social media that he could come out of retirement.
And that is not a fight the Australian is willing to rule out.
“He does have a name value so again, there’s options,” Volkanovski said.
“If this division doesn’t sort itself out, that is s*** you might see. It’s got to be the right fight. I want No.1 contenders. I’m not just going to give guys who haven’t earned it a shot for the sake of it.
“I’m in a position where I’m going to be clever. If we think this fight is going to the biggest draw and biggest money we’ll make it happen. If it is Holloway, it will be Holloway. If it is the lightweight, the team says that and the UFC is happy, we’ll do that.”