by Dane McGuire
It appears UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will get his wish for a shot at double champion status following UFC 280.
Former lightweight champion Charles Olivera fell Islam Makhachev in the second round of their main event title fight by way of an arm-triangle choke.
Makhachev immediately called out the champion in the division below and Volkanovski respectfully accepted the challenge during the post-fight interviews. Volkanovski had weighed in as a backup for Makhachev’s fight against Oliveira.
“It looks like Volkanovski is next,” UFC President Dana White said at the UFC 280 post-fight press conference. “Volkanovski never ceases to amaze me. Another incredible fight.”
As for more specific details, MMA Junkie reports the UFC has a pay-per-view scheduled for Perth, Australia, Volkanovski’s home turf, Feb. 11. White didn’t confirm anything, but indicated that is likely going to be the date and setting for the big clash.
“Incredible,” White then said of Makhachev’s UFC 280 performance. “I’ve been saying all week, you have two of the absolute best in the world facing in their prime and facing off. And when I went up in the octagon after, Khabib said, ‘I told you. I told you he’s the best in the world.’
“I mean, to beat Oliveira is one thing, to beat him the way he beat him is another. And as fast as he did it, he looked incredible tonight. The big question tonight was how is he going to deal with the pressure. And he dealt with it just fine.”
The new lightweight champion shared his own thoughts on the next marquee bout as well.
“I have new target,” Makhachev said. “I have to be No.1 pound-for-pound champion. That’s why I have to go to Australia and beat this guy. … Volkanovski is tough. He has good skills, good striking, but he’s small for this division, I think. He wants to jump to 155. Let’s do this. This weight class is not his level.”
“It doesn’t matter,” Makhachev said of doing battle in Australia . “It’s good for us. We can travel to Australia. It’s a good country. We can make some camp there, training there. Before they announced the fight with Charles, Khabib told me many times, ‘Hey, if they’re going to give us a title fight in Brazil, we’re going to go to the Brazil.’
“Like one month ago, I had message with him where we talked about this. He sent to Dana text message, ‘Hey, let’s go do this in Brazil. We can go to the Brazil,’ but some people don’t believe. But we can show people the message what Khabib said (to) Dana.”