×

Volkanoski thinks Holloway will go to lightweight: 'He does want to move up'

Newly crowned UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski doesn't believe a rematch against Max Holloway will be his first title defense.

"Max didn't seem (interested in a rematch)" Volkanovski told theScore.

"He hasn't talked about it much; I don't know if that's really on his radar. Whether he wants to fight lightweight again, I was saying (prior to UFC 245), 'mate, you keep looking at this lightweight division, come fight me. I'll make that decision easier for you and take that belt.'

"And I didn't mean that disrespectfully, but it seems to be that way you know? I think he does want to move up to (lightweight)."

Holloway made a lone appearance in the UFC's lightweight division in April 2019, losing by decision against Dustin Poirier in their 155-pound interim title fight at UFC 236. Holloway fought the first four bouts of his career as a lightweight.

The 28-year-old has endured difficult weight cuts to reach the featherweight division's 145-pound cutoff in the past, but nothing is keeping him in the division after Volkanovski (21-1) defeated him by unanimous decision at UFC 245 to capture the featherweight belt.

After Volkanovski defeated Holloway, UFC President Dana White suggested booking an immediate rematch, but the new champion doesn't believe it's warranted.

"I'm my hardest critic, so I actually thought (the title fight) was closer than what it was," Volkanovski explained. "I watched back the tape and from what I've seen, (I) pretty convincingly won. I was struggling even to give him a round. Some (rounds) were closer than others, I'll give him that. But I would have struggled to give him a round. So I don't know who's next."

Volkanovski, 31, also revealed his recovery from a broken hand is taking longer than expected. The former rugby player is planning his Octagon return for mid-2020, but he doesn't believe there's an established title contender in his division.

"Nobody is a clear-cut No. 1 contender," he said. "You've got Zombie (Chan Sung Jung), two-fight win streak. Zabit (Magomedsharipov) hasn't fought a top contender. Go take that No. 1 contender spot. Go do what I've done. Why do you think I was calling out guys like Chad Mendes, guys like Jose Aldo in Brazil?

"So these are things you got to do and I think it's time for these boys to do the same."