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Alexander Volkanovski only interested in title fight at featherweight, reveals potential lightweight matchups

Alexander Volkanovski is targeting a return to action by the end of 2024 but he’s only interested in going back to featherweight if there’s a title on the line.

Following a stunning loss to Ilia Topuria back in February that cost him the 145-pound belt, Volkanovski began calling for an immediate rematch but he also knew he needed time off to recover from back-to-back knockouts. During Volkanovski’s much deserved hiatus, Max Holloway pulled off a jaw-dropping knockout over Justin Gaethje at UFC 300 and then declared plans to return to featherweight with hopes that he could challenge Topuria for the title.

Holloway will likely get his wish with all signs pointing toward a matchup against Topuria at UFC 306 in September. That leaves Volkanovski as the odd man out but he’s understanding given the situation so he has designs on some other plans in the meantime.

“Things that excite me, in featherweight it’s just the belt,” Volkanovski said on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel. “Obviously the rematch [with Ilia Topuria] and the belt, right? That’s big and then to be honest, exciting big fights. I like that, too. With featherweight, I’m still that competitor where like this is my division, I’m getting it back. I want that win back. Things like that. It’s going to be there.

“But lightweight, let’s have some fun while we’re waiting. They’re probably going to do Max [Holloway] and Ilia in September. Because I told the UFC I didn’t want to fight until later in the year. Like I said, I’m really committed to that in my head. Now I started training I’m like I wish I didn’t tell them that!”

Volkanovski took two stabs at winning the UFC lightweight title but came up short on both occasions with losses to Islam Makhachev.

Those setbacks won’t stop Volkanovski from returning to 155 pounds, especially if the UFC could offer him a marquee matchup in the division while he’s waiting for his chance to fight for gold at featherweight.

“I did say I don’t want to wait too long either,” Volkanovski explained. “I’m in a position now where if they do that and they want me to fight bloody March or something or April, I’m going to fight at lightweight. Give me that. That’s still exciting.

“So I want an exciting fight like a Charles Oliveira. I did call out [Dustin] Poirier. He’s a great dude, we get along, I think he’s a good man and obviously he’s a big fun fight. There’s history there with mutual opponents we fought. He used to fight at featherweight, things like that and obviously a big name, a fun fight that would be. So that’s exciting.”

Neither Oliveira or Poirier have been booked for a fight since competing in April and June respectively so those options could potentially be available for Volkanovski.

He’s never shied away from seeking out competition from different weight divisions but now might be the perfect time to explore those possibilities.

With Holloway and Topuria most likely meeting before the end of the year, Volkanovksi would almost certainly have to wait until 2025 for another shot at the featherweight title. So getting a matchup at lightweight could be the perfect way for Volkanovski to stay busy, earn a hefty payday and then turn his attention back to featherweight in the new calendar year.

“Just whatever excites me,” Volkanosvki said. “The belt excites me. Ilia rematch obviously excites me. That’s the main thing at featherweight. Like I wouldn’t just fight anyone in featherweight. Because my next fight’s for the title and that’s that.

“The UFC knows that and I know that. At lightweight, we can have a bit of fun. Something exciting A big fight that excites me.”

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