UFC: Alex Volkanovski Talks ‘The Korean Zombie’ And 145lbs Division
In his recent years, super fights have become all the rage in the UFC, with many champions preferring to seek money fights or the chance to win a second belt, rather than defending their title. One man who won’t be going down that path however, is the new UFC featherweight champion, Alex Volkanovski.
Speaking to BJPenn.com‘s Tom Taylor, Volkanovski stated that as champion, you should be expected fight the best men in your division, and that he’s excited to do just that.
“That’s how a champ should do it. It’s exciting. I love it. It’s a good time to be champion. You take out big guys like these [contenders] — I think it’s a lot more competitive than it was a few years ago — you go out and take out these number one contenders, and you’re in GOAT talks straight away. I think the level of competition in our division is a lot stronger than it has been in the past. If I start taking these people out, everyone’s going to have to start being honest with themselves. The GOAT talk will start getting thrown around.”
While Volkanovski plans to take out every number one contender to emerge in the 145lbs division, the 31 year old isn’t ruling out any super fights in the future.
“Don’t get me wrong, I’m not going to sit here and ask for it, but if an opportunity comes, if Dana and the matchmakers come and say ‘we want you to fight Khabib,’ I’ll go ‘alright, fine. Sweet.’ You know what I mean? If that opportunity is given to me, for a big payday, I ain’t going to say no, but I ain’t going to be the type of person that’s going to try and dodge my division, dodge all the number one contenders.
“I’ve got a division to hold, so that’s what I’m going to do. If opportunities come, I’ll worry about it then, but right now we’ve got a stacked division. Just like Max. Max was the same. Max wasn’t bulls***ting around. Obviously eventually these opportunities came to him and he’s going to take them. He was a great champion, I’ll give him that. I’m going to do the same, and we’ll see what happens.”
Who the number one contender is in the UFC featherweight division right now, Volkanovski says isn’t clear. The Australian believes that the top contenders in the 145lbs division, such as ‘The Korean Zombie’ (Chan Sung Jung), Zabit Magomedsharipov and Yair Rodriguez, need to go out there and prove they’re the number one contender.
“You’ve got guys like Zombie and Zabit. I haven’t heard much from Brian Ortega, but these are the names that are going to get thrown around. Even Yair Rodriguez. No one is the clear number one.
“If say, Zombie and Zabit fought, or Zombie and Yair fought again, whatever it is, [if they] get that clear number one contender spot, it’s going to be hard for even Max to ask for a rematch if you go an do something like that. You can really go out there and take that number one spot, and then there’s no questions. You’ve taken the opportunity away from everyone and you’ve earned it.”
With no standout number one contender in the division, Volkanovski believes that ‘The Korean Zombie’ is the fans’ top contender currently, because he only fought last month. At UFC Busan in South Korea, the home favourite scored an impressive first round knockout of Frankie Edgar.
“He’s the new flavour. He’s the hot topic of the month cause he just won. It wasn’t long ago that Zabit was the clear next guy for the fight when he won. That’s what happens. Someone else goes and fights then they’re the number one.”
While ‘The Korean Zombie’ not only called out Volkanovski but also predicted a quick finish, the City Kickboxing fighter thinks otherwise.
“Matchup-wise, you come rushing at me like [you did against Edgar], you come swinging at me like that, I ain’t gonna be there or I’m going to put one right on your chin,” he said of a potential fight with the undead Korean. “You come at me with them arms down like that, swinging from the f**king hip like that, I’ll be putting you to sleep. I don’t mean this in a bad way. They’re all obviously going to think they can beat me. Good on ’em. They should think that. They have to believe in themselves, but it ain’t gonna be that easy. Let me tell you that.”
Within hours of this story going to press, ‘The Korean Zombie’ took to social media to respond to Volkanovski’s comments.
With Alex Volkanovski currently sitting on the sidelines with a broken hand, which top contenders in the UFC featherweight division, would you like to see face off with each other and fight for the number one contender spot?