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Alex Volkanovski Discusses UFC Title Picture, Contenders, Future

Alex Volkanovski was a guest on Submission Radio recently to discuss the UFC title picture, his future and a potential third meeting with Max Holloway.

On having a good camp leading into the fight with Ortega

“Mate, honestly, it’s hard for me to keep my shirt on right now because I’m leaner than ever, fitter than ever. So, man, you can tell. You can look at me and you can see. Watch me train or even just see me with the shirt off. You can tell that I’ve put the work in and camp’s gone well. So, mate, I’m just nothing but high spirits. Feeling good, and cannot wait to get in there and do my thing, man, cause I’m in good nick.”

On being an underappreciated champion and wanting to send a statement with his win over Ortega at UFC 260

Look, it’s no doubt, it’s pretty obvious. But again, obviously we’ve got a lot of support, got the backing of Australia and everyone back home, and obviously still plenty people around the world. But Max, he’s a cool dude and he’s had a big fanbase. He worked on that fanbase. Mate, the UFC as well. Like, they’d been pushing him for a while. It took him a while to get to that stage. He was still in a similar position to me, but over time winning and winning and winning. Hey, remember, people just remember winning. And he did that for a long time, and people really got to understand him and see how he is and appreciate that he’s a pretty humble dude and respectful type of guy. The more you get to meet someone, the more you understand him and like him. So, he had that time. And hey, I’m still new to this. I go in there and take their poster-boy out, and they ain’t happy. So, I understand that, I get it. But again, time will heal that.”

“I’m pretty confident I’m gonna go out there, do that, [have] a lot of people jump on board after this one, because I plan on really putting on a performance and setting a statement as well. Again, I know he’s tough. I know he’s tough, he’s durable. But man, I just think the nick I’m in right now, like, no one can keep up. I really do. So, I think I’m going to break him in the earlier rounds, and then I’ll be able to get that finish. So, that’s my goal. But again, you never know. He’s durable, but I want a finish. I do want that finish.”

On moving up weight classes as soon as the end of this year or start of 2021

“I’ve got that welterweight, middleweight type of strength, you know what I mean? I’m just talking myself up here, but I mean, you get anyone that’s trained with me and you talk about for my size, the power I have, the strength I have. So, I don’t I think that being overpowered and someone being able to throw me around in lightweight would happen. Obviously, you’ve got guys like Khabib, who’s just next level when it comes to grappling. But I’m one hard man to hold down. So, that’s something that interests me. But again, I’ve got the featherweight division to worry about. But man, I’ll tell you what, again, I’m not the cocky type, but I’m very confident in myself, and I know I’ve got the skills to really do well in the lightweight division. Even against the best. So, time will tell. But again, that’s definitely a goal of mine. But again, right now I’m just going to prove myself, be the GOAT of the featherweight division. I don’t think we’re too far away from that. I want to have a busy year and prove myself to the world and show ‘em that I am the best featherweight and the best featherweight there ever was. So, I’ve got some work to do, and I’ll do this that year. But, man, even later this year or early next year, that lightweight division, I’ve got my eye on them.”

Why Ortega’s striking won’t look as good as it did against Korean Zombie

“People keep saying, oh, he looked great against Zombie. He did. But again, you’ve probably heard me say things like this a fair bit, where it’s the people in front of you. Like, I think Zombie let him look really good as well, played a part in him looking so good. I think there’s a lot of things that Zombie could have done to nullify what Ortega was doing. Or even if he just did a little bit more. Or, you know, there’s no point going into detail, but I believe Zombie played a big part in why Ortega was able to look so composed and just let him pick his shots, take his time. Mate, he showed a complete different style of fighting. He was so much more patient. Shot selections. He fought at a distance patiently. He got to just set up what he wanted. You get what I’m trying to say? These are things that I feel Zombie let him do.”

“Zombie just sat back and he was hesitating. Even when he got in the pocket, he was freezing”

“I feel like Ortega played a part in that as well, but I’m not gonna do that. When I’m in front of you, come on, let’s be realistic, you’ve seen me fight the last few times. If you’re expecting Ortega to look how he did against Zombie, you’re in for a rude shock. And again, anyone that knows the game will know that’s not how the fight’s gonna go. Doesn’t mean he’s not dangerous. No, it doesn’t. I just believe he’s going to be dangerous in other things, but he will not be able to just do what he wants in the octagon with me, I can guarantee you that.”

On not being afraid to go to the ground with Ortega, and having a history of beating opponents at what they’re known for

“I love when people try and tell me you can’t do this, and I love going out there and doing it. But even guys like earlier in my career when I’d fight grinders, people that are known for grinding. And I’d grind them out and break them. Then you’ve got grapplers. I remember Jeremy Kennedy. Grappler. Saying he’s the MMA grappler in the UFC. I go out there and absolutely ground and pound the shit out of him, finish him in the second round, just by a literally punching his head through the canvas. Where he was saying he’d do that to me. So, I took him out. Even Chad Mendes. Obviously, I didn’t outwrestle him, but I was just saying that I’m gonna use his wrestling against him, he’s gonna tire. Even if he gets the takedown, I’m getting straight back up. I’m gonna put that pressure on. You know what I mean? So, I was using their strengths against them, and things like that. Even with Aldo. How’s he gonna do with leg kicks? You know what I mean? How is he going to deal with the stand-up? I go out there and outstrike an Aldo. Go out there and absolutely shut him down, leg kick the shit out of Aldo. Who does that? You know what I mean? Aldo’s known for leg kicking. You know what I mean? So, things like that. And then Max, going out there and outstriking Max. Again, he’s known for volume. Out-volume-striking Max as well. People saying, ‘he can’t stand with him’. You know, things like that. Going out there and out-striking him and beating him up on the feet. It’s something about that, like, going out there and doing that. You know what I mean? A lot of people are gonna notice that. A lot of people are gonna be like, fuck, I did not expect that, that’s impressive. But it’s something about it. Like, for me, it’s a challenge that I have in my head. And even Ortega being, everyone literally thinks you cannot go to the ground with this guy. Like, literally they try and tell you. Even he says he doesn’t even train wrestling because his Jiu Jitsu is that good. Which again, I’m not gonna play Jiu Jitsu with him. I’m not gonna give much away. Like, that’s obvious. I ain’t playing Jiu Jitsu. We all know that. But does that mean I can’t go anywhere near the ground with him? No, it doesn’t. So, I’ll leave it at that. But if I was to get in there on the ground and get a submission, mate, that would be great. Would I bet on it? Maybe not the submission (laughs). But hey, the thing is, when you break someone, and that’s what I plan on doing, mate, the submissions can definitely come. But again, that’s his world. That’s somewhere where even when he’s broken, he’s tired, he’s beaten, remember how I told you about the natural instincts? Even when you’re completely broken, he’s been there a million times. That’s his world. He could be half knocked out, his body is going to know what to do down there, cause he’s been there a million times. So again, that’s what I mean by, when you’re tired. Again, my power, my strength, will overpower even his technique. Especially while he’s broken. But again, I still feel like he can be dangerous, even when I feel like I’m having my way with him. He still can be dangerous. He could still wrap that neck up if I slip up. So again, you’ve got to respect that. I respect Ortega’s ground game. I respect his stand-up as well. But again, I just think I’m too many levels ahead. And again, time will tell, and I get to prove myself again in less than a couple of weeks.”

On Max saying he’s the “cloud” hanging over this fight

“I don’t even know what means, to be honest. I did see it say “the cloud” of the fight. I didn’t get it.”

“Look, it is a weird one, and you’ve got to feel for Max for being in that position. But I mean, think of how many people have been in that position and never have gotten a chance again. How many people have been in that position and have never gotten that chance again? But at the same time, do I think that fight will never happen? No. I think, look, that fight is always going to be there. It’s always going to be a big fight too. A lot of people still talking about it. So, that’s definitely a fight that will always be there. And I understand that. And again, I’m not scared of nobody. But I mean, at the same time, everyone’s gotta be real and understand that they’ve given Max every chance, giving opportunity after opportunity, spoiling him pretty, pretty good here. So, if you’re gonna spoil him, give me that money, and then we could talk. You know what I mean? So, that’s all it really comes down to. Look, right now I’ve got Ortega to worry about. That’s all I’m focused on. Do I think Max will eventually happen? I think it will. But do I need to be paid? Yeah, I reckon we both should get paid good for that fight, because I think that’s going to be a big fight. That’s a fight everyone does want to see. But at the same time, let’s remember, I’m 2-0 against the man, and no one get’s spoiled like he does. But hey, Uncle Dana wants to spoil him with another opportunity? We’ll see what happens. But again, it probably needs to happen. But I’ve got Ortega in front of me. That’s all I’m focused on.”

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