Alexander Volkanovski is being tipped to go on one of the greatest winning runs in UFC history — and potentially land a super fight against Conor McGregor — with countryman Robert Whittaker declaring: “I find it hard to see him losing to anyone”.
Currently undefeated in all 10 UFC appearances, Australia’s UFC featherweight king will look to officially etch his name among the company’s greatest winners at UFC 273 on Sunday.
Should Volkanovski defend his title for a third time against Chan Sung Jung, aka The Korean Zombie, he will become just the 11th fighter in UFC history to win 11 straight.
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Better, the 33-year-old will also enter discussions for a host of super fights against the likes of Max Holloway, Henry Cejudo, even UFC megastar McGregor.
Speaking with News Corp from Jacksonville, Florida this week, where he headlines on Sunday, Volkanovski suggested he would go as heavy as welterweight to land a fight with the Irishman, who wore the featherweight crown in 2015.
While reluctant to look too far beyond this weekend — “my focus is on Zombie” — the $1.13 TAB favourite confirmed the idea of facing McGregor was appealing, even if it meant going 11kg heavier than where he fights now.
Already, Volkanovski has beaten the division’s other champions in Jose Aldo and Max Holloway, the latter twice.
“So I beat McGregor and I’ve taken them all,” he said.
“You and I have spoken a lot over the years but I’ve never really talked about legacy.
“Never thought too much about it. But now, I’m changing my whole view on this.
“I want my name written into the history books. I want people to remember me.
“That’s really driving me now.”
American heavyweight Jon Jones owns the longest UFC win streak, with 17.
Then follows Brazilian legend Anderson Silva (16) and welterweight champ Kamaru Usman (15), with four more fighters boasting a run of 13 straight – Khabib Nurmagomedov, Georges St Pierre, Max Holloway and Demetrious Johnson.
Should Volkanovski beat Zombie as expected, he will almost certainly be pitched into a trilogy bout against Holloway, who he has already beaten twice.
Yet while their last fight may have finished controversially, and left many fans convinced Holloway did enough to claim the win, Australia’s first UFC champion Whittaker has tipped his countryman to not only get the victory on Sunday, but then continue to dominate the featherweight division.
“I think Zombie is in a hard position with this fight,” Whittaker said. “Because at featherweight, Alex has become a real powerhouse. He’s got it all.
“I find it hard to see Volk losing not only to Zombie, but anyone else in that division right now.”
Certainly bookmakers are backing Whittaker’s claim, with the former Wollongong concreter firming for one of the most lopsided championship bouts in years.
In Las Vegas, oddsmaker have Volkanovski as short as -800.
On the TAB, meanwhile, he has firmed to $1.13, with Zombie a $6 outsider.
Quizzed on how far he would go to make the McGregor fight happen, given the Irishman is little chance of going back to featherweight, Volkanovski continued: “I’d go to welterweight.
“I know he (McGregor) can get lower than that, and there’s no use going that high just for the sake of it. But if anything lighter were a deal breaker then, yeah, I’d do it.
“Because McGregor’s the only other (featherweight) champion I haven’t beaten.
“I take him out, I’ve then taken them all.”
Meanwhile, Whittaker is also back in fight camp himself, despite losing to UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya in February. The Sydneysider is booked to face Italian Marvin Vettori at UFC 275 in Singapore on June 12.
While Whittaker has lost twice in title fights to Adesanya, he insists a win over Vettori should put him right back into the title picture.
So close was Whittaker’s decision loss to Adesanya at UFC 271, large sections of the Houston, Texas crowd erupted in boos when the judges’ scorecards were announced.
Afterwards, Whittaker also told reporters he had done enough to be declared the winner.
Quizzed on the gap that existed between himself and an Adesanya trilogy, Whittaker replied: “I’d love to beat Vettori and have maybe one more. But who knows?
“Look how far he (Adesanya) was running the first time when I tried to get a rematch.
“And now that the second fight was as close as it was, he’s going to be double-timing it away. So who knows?
“It’s unchatered territory.
“And we have seen guys in the past get stuck in this position. But all I can do is beat up everyone that’s in front of me. Luckily, I get paid to do that too.”