Say what you want about Alexander Volkanovski, but the man who dubbed himself “The Great” shortly before his Octagon debut in 2016 does not lack confidence. The former professional rugby player recently usurped long-reigning featherweight champion Max Holloway at UFC 245 in December, lifting the 145-pound title and taking his Ultimate Fighting Championship record to a perfect 8-0 in the process. Now, as the Australian admires his handy work from his home in Wollongong, New South Wales, he is candid about the fact that everything has gone according to his expectations.
“Even before UFC, I was always trying to fight the best,” Volkanovski told Sherdog.com, as he reflected on his uninterrupted rise from debutant to contender to champion. “I wanted to be the best in Australia, so I fought the best in Australia. I wanted to fight the best of the fighters outside the UFC, and I did. I knew once I was in there, I had to fight who they put in front of me. Then I fought ranked opponents and not just ranked opponent that I thought I matched up well with. I fought names that were hard matchups, like Chad Mendes. That wasn’t an easy fight. I just knew he was ranked, I knew he was a big man [and] I knew [a win] would get me noticed. These are just things that I’ve always sort of done. I guess that it was sort of how I thought it would be. I would fight the best to get that title, so no, to answer your question, I’m not surprised to be sitting here as champion.”
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