‘I’m in’: Aussie champ wants UFC Island superfight
Alexander Volkanovski has declared himself ready to fight on UFC Island, with the new Australian champ even willing to step up a division if it means staying busy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Only four months on from winning the UFC featherweight title, and despite still recovering from a broken hand, Volkanovski insists he will be “ready to go” whenever the shock revelation that is Fight Island becomes operational.
Earlier this week, UFC president Dana White announced the island plan as part of his controversial push to keep fight cards running throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
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Alexander Volkanovski’s title defence could be the craziest in UFC history. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Initially, Volkanovski looked set to defend his title in June at UFC 251 in Perth, with a rematch against Max Holloway.
However, with most of Australia now in lockdown, that card is one of several international events White wants moved to an island set aside for those fighters unable to travel into the US.
“And if this UFC Island goes ahead, I’ll do it,” Volkanovski told The Daily Telegraph.
“I’m in so long as the company can make everything happen while abiding by the rules.
“And I know some people might have different ideas to me.
“But right now here in Australia, we have tradesmen going to work, hairdressers going to work …. and I don’t want to see that stop.
“I’ve been speaking for weeks now about people doing the right thing, isolating and staying safe.
Dana White (L) is determined to have the UFC go ahead despite the coronavirus threat. Picture: GettySource:Getty Images
“Which is exactly what I’ve done.
“I’ve been training alone.
“Haven’t even met with my coach.
“And while I realise this island idea is a unique situation, if the UFC can also get me back to work safely – or as safely as you can be fighting inside an Octagon – then that’s brilliant.”
As part of the proposal, the UFC has revealed it will fly private jets to collect both Volkanovski and UFC middleweight Robert Whittaker, who has also agreed to fight if the island concept goes ahead.
“Rob is in,” his agent Titus Day said Wednesday night.
“So long as all the safety requirements are met, so long as the relevant bodies give it the tick of approval, Rob’s already told me he is willing to fight on UFC Island.”
Robert Whittaker’s next fight could also take place on the mystery island. Picture: AAPSource:AAP
Day added Australia’s first UFC champion was still gunning for a showdown with Englishman Darren Till, who he was firming to fight in Dublin this August.
“Rob still wants Till, absolutely,” he said. “So hopefully it can still all come together.”
Volkanovski, meanwhile, admitted he was unsure if Holloway would be his next rival, or even if a fight could be made at featherweight.
“Maybe they offer me a lightweight fight,” the champ said. “Maybe they say to me ‘OK we don’t expect you to defend the belt, just go out there and have some fun?’.
“I’d definitely be happy to do that.
“Obviously whatever is put to me, I’ll talk to my team first.
“But personally, I would fight anyone there.
Volkanovski has been training alone during the lockdown. Picture: Richard DobsonSource:News Corp Australia
“Even if it’s the lightweight champ (Khabib Nurmagomedov) … if that fight comes to me I’ll take it.”
Pushed on the UFC island concept, Volkanovski continued: “From what I understand they’ll be taking all precautions.
“They’ll be flying us in private jets, getting us tested, isolating us in hotels, everything is going to be done properly.
“Which is why I would be comfortable putting myself into that position.
“Plus I know that if anyone can make this happen, it’s Dana White.
“Which is why I think you might be seeing us fighting on an island sometime soon.”
Originally published as‘I’m in’: Aussie champ wants UFC Island superfight
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