UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski would like to postpone a return to the featherweight division.
Volkanovski wants an immediate rematch with Islam Makhachev following their close championship bout at Saturday’s UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. It was a bout where Volkanovski (25-2 MMA, 12-1 UFC) looked to gain a second title by challenging 155-champion Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC).
In the end, Makhachev won a unanimous decision, but the verdict left many fans split. Volkanovski believes there needs to be an immediate rematch to settle any doubts.
“Yeah, 100 percent,” Volkanovski said on “The MMA Hour” on Monday. “He’s already talked to the press that he wants to do the rematch. He went back to his corner (after the fight) before they announced who the winner was, obviously it was a close fight, but I think he thought he might’ve lost. He was even saying he needs a rematch to his corner when he went back to his corner. He thought he lost. … He knows. I’m not taking anything away. It was a close fight, but yeah.”
That same night at UFC 284, Mexico’s Yair Rodriguez won the interim featherweight title by submitting Josh Emmett. Many expected the featherweight title unification to be next between Volkanovski and Rodriguez.
When asked what would be of the featherweight division if he were to compete at 155 pounds, Volkanovski pointed to the belt won that night by Rodriguez.
“What’s the point of the interim anyway?,” Volkanovski said. “That’s why we’re doing the interim. I don’t want to be holding up the division, so he’s going to be the guy looking out after that while I’m gone. He can hold that until I’m there.”
Makhachev claimed to be the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter on the planet following his win at UFC 284, as Volkanovski was at the top of the pound-for-pound UFC official rankings.
Volkanovski believes that’s still up for debate. If anything, he proved why he was ranked No. 1.
“A lot of people thought I won that fight,” Volkanovski said. “I thought I won that fight. I moved up. We’re talking about pound for pound.
“Imagine if we were the same size. Imagine if we were the same weight class. Imagine if he was a featherweight. Yeah, I don’t want to be that guy, but if he was just a featherweight in my division, I’d squash him. I’d squash him. It’s a walk in the park.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.