Big Bouts On The Cards For Alexander Volkanovski And Robert Whittaker In 2021
For most, 2020 was a pretty awful year (and no, there's no need to delve into the exact reasons why).
But for others, namely our Australian mixed martial artists, the past 12 months were great.
Alexander Volkanovski successfully captured and defended the UFC featherweight title from Max Holloway.
And elsewhere, former champ Robert Whittaker went on a warpath and took out some of the biggest names the middleweight division had to offer - a streak that well and truly put him back in the picture for a shot at Israel Adesanya and the 185-pound belt.
With the year they've had, both fighters earned their place on the UFC's official Pound-for-Pound rankings - a huge achievement in itself.
But while 2020 was impressive, they'll be expecting even bigger things in 2021 - and the rumours about who they'll fight next have already begun swirling.
With a shot at the middleweight strap within touching distance, reports suggest that Whittaker could face off against the last man to have a crack at Adesanya's belt.
According to TSN Sports via the fighter's agent, Paulo Costa was offered a fight against Whittaker and is currently in talks with Dana White and the UFC to get the deal over the line.
In taking out both Darren Till and Jared Cannonier, Whittaker had probably done enough to earn his shot at the title without having to go toe-to-toe with the Brazilian physical specimen first.
But if you look at the rankings, a number one contender bout against Costa definitely makes sense.
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Per PVT, Paulo Costa's manager Wallid Ismail says that Paulo Costa was offered a matchup with Robert Whittaker in March.
Ismail says that they are waiting on Whittaker to sign. https://t.co/kMFnQKFwTs
- Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) December 11, 2020
Meanwhile, featherweight king Volkanovski has all the pulling power in his weight class.
Dethroning one of division's greatest ever fighters is a special, special thing but to do it twice is even more impressive.
Aussie fan favourite Volkanovski has openly talked about becoming the "featherweight GOAT", and he's certainly on his way to achieving that.
But if the reports about his next opponent are true, then he could be in for his toughest test to date - not that he'd be worried though.
According to Dana White, the UFC is targeting a title bout between Volkanovski and Brian Ortega for early 2021.
"Probably," White said when asked by BT's Caroline Pearce if the match-up would be in February.
"That's a fun fight, too. I love that fight."
Not only would he be defending his belt in the process, but Volkanovski would also be searching for his 20th straight win if he can silence the rejuvenated Ortega - a man who is fresh off the back of a big win over Korean Zombie.
But while wiping out every 145-pound challenger is something Volkanovski is set on doing, he also recently revealed that he was eyeing up a move to the lightweight division.
Either way, whether these exciting rumours come to fruition or not, there's no denying that the Aussies have got big plans for 2021.
Featured Image Credit: Instagram/@alexvolkanovski
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