UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is determined to have his next fight be for the lightweight title. And he wants to be part of huge fight night in Australia.
Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) has his mind set on getting the opportunity to become a two-division champion, despite having two contenders in his weight class chomping at the bit to be his next challenger.
Top contenders Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett seem to be the clear candidates for the next shot at 145 pounds. Volkanovski is well aware, and that’s why he wouldn’t mind seeing an interim title in place as he tries to capture more gold in another division.
“You’re probably going to ask this whole interim belt,” Volkanovski said Monday on “The MMA Hour.”
“Look, I don’t mind that idea while I’m sitting here. Because again, I think it’s looking like me (fighting) for that lightweight belt, and again there’s no clear (guy) for that No. 1 contender. Let them fight for that No. 1 contender.”
“I think both Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez are both in a position where they could get a shot. … They can go do that, I do my thing, and a few months after that get me back in there. I’ll do it. In the perfect world for me, lightweight title early next year and then if they do this interim thing, it would just make it a bigger fight. I don’t mind. Then you got a clear No. 1 guy.”
Volkanovski is coming off his fourth consecutive title defense after defeating Max Holloway in a trilogy bout at UFC 276 on July 2.
“They’re looking at coming to Australia in the early quarter, the first quarter of the year (2023),” Volkanovski said. “I need to fight in Australia. I think I deserve that. Trying to squeeze something before that, that’s me rushing things. Obviously, everyone in Australia deserves (it). It’s what I want, and the UFC would be very happy to have me headline a card there, as well. That’s probably what’s going to happen. And fight for the lightweight title in that (first) quarter of the year.”