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Volkanovski Demands Fighters 'Earn' Their Shot At His UFC Featherweight Title

Volkanovski Demands Fighters 'Earn' Their Shot At His UFC Featherweight Title

If you want to take on UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski, you need to do one simple thing: get into that number one contender spot.

If you're not in that luxurious position and find yourself calling him out in a bid to earn a potential shot (cough cough, Henry Cejudo), then you're barking up the wrong tree.

You have to "earn it", otherwise the Aussie champ "ain't interested".

And if you don't like that, too bad.

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Volkanovski defeats Holloway in Abu Dhabi. Credit: PA
Volkanovski defeats Holloway in Abu Dhabi. Credit: PA

After successfully defending his title against former champ Max Holloway at UFC Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, one would naturally expect Volkanovski to be taking his foot off the gas and relaxing.

And to a certain degree he is.

Currently in a swanky, multi-million-dollar penthouse overlooking the beautiful Sydney Harbour, the Wollongong native now has a second shiny UFC belt staring at him from the coffee table.

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But while going home to loved ones after his compulsory two-week quarantine is probably his first thought, it's the prospect of cementing his legacy after 'closing the chapter with Max Holloway' that has the Aussie truly excited.

"There's no point doing a rematch," Volkanovski told SPORTbible Australia.

"I won that first fight clearly, a lot of people thought the rematch wasn't even needed but there was honestly no one else.

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"I've made it clear from the start that once I'm champion I'm going to take on the number one contenders and that's all that matters - whoever's next in line will get it and whoever earns it will get it.

"There was no one else after our first fight. With no other contenders, Max deserved the rematch.

"Now doing what I did against him in back-to-back fights that is obviously no longer the case. So whoever's next in line, bring it on! I'm all about taking out the number one contenders.

"I'm an easy champ to understand: Get yourself to that number one contender spot, I don't care who you are or how tough you are, you're going to get that fight. Plain and simple.

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"A lot of these champions are fussy, very fussy. But that's just not the way I want to go about it - I'm different. Love it or hate it, I'm not going change for anyone."

Volkanovski celebrates winning the title. Credit: PA
Volkanovski celebrates winning the title. Credit: PA

In the process of toppling featherweight fan favourite Holloway for a second time, Volkanovski extended his impressive win streak to 19 fights.

And now, perhaps more than ever, there's a solid target painted on the 5 foot 5 inch former rugby league player's broad back.

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But with the likes of currently retired former two-division world champion Henry Cejudo (unranked) and the high-flying Korean Zombie (ranked third) calling for the Aussie's head from the comfort of their Twitter profiles, Volkanovski has the same blunt message for them.

"I'm all about taking on number one contenders, guys who are going make me the GOAT of this division. Bring them on," he said.

"There's obviously other people like Henry Cejudo trying to jump queues to take belts and then not defend them. I ain't about that.

"If there was a chance for Henry to step up, then it was before my rematch with Holloway while there was no one else. That's exactly why Max got the rematch because there was wasn't really anyone else.

"There's guys like Korean Zombie and Brian Ortega as well as Zabit (Magomedsharipov), so to try and jump the queue is pretty ridiculous to me - it just doesn't make sense.

"He's not jumping the queue unless I get compensated for it because it does nothing for me or my legacy and it doesn't help me get that GOAT status.

"Nothing against Cejudo, he's done great things, but it doesn't put me in a position where I move forward. It's not going to be like, 'Wow, he took out Henry Cejudo' because the majority of people already know I'd beat him so it's just a waste of time for me. If someone's going to waste my time then pay me for it."

And Cejudo isn't the only fighter using his social media in a bid to lock down a bout with Alexander "The Great".

Even though a fight for the number one contender spot against Brian Ortega is reportedly in the works, Korean Zombie took to Instagram to slam Volkanovski's performance against Holloway, calling it "shameful that he is champion".

Volkanovski's response? Well, he doesn't mince his words.

He reiterated: "Again it's these people, man. Get that number one contender spot. If you want that fight then get into poll position and I'll personally hand the fight straight to you - it's that easy.

"The UFC and martial arts has always been about what I pride myself on. We've got a ranking system for a reason and I want to abide by that. When I got the belt, Max gave me that chance - earned not given.

"Earn it, don't try and get it given to you."

Featured Image Credit: SPORTbible Australia

Topics: News, Max Holloway, Henry Cejudo, UFC, Australia, MMA, Updates, Alexander Volkanovski

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Max Sherry

Max Sherry is a journalist for SPORTbible Australia. After migrating Down Under from London as a teenager, he instantly fell in love with Aussie sport and its culture. From NRL to AFL, cricket to rugby — you name it, Max watches it (with a beer in hand, of course). During his time at Fox Sports, he worked in the football department covering the Premier League, A-League, Socceroos and Matildas. Born a stone's throw away from West Ham's training ground, Max is obviously a die-hard Liverpool fan.