Volkanovski Still Hopeful Of Australia Defense Despite Djokovic Drama

Despite the drama surrounding Novak Djokovic’s inability to play at this year’s Australian Open, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski is still hoping to defend his title in his home country soon.

Djokovic’s back and forth situation in A…

Novak Djokovic, Alexander Volkanovski

Despite the drama surrounding Novak Djokovic’s inability to play at this year’s Australian Open, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski is still hoping to defend his title in his home country soon.

Djokovic’s back and forth situation in Australia has been one of the biggest sports stories of 2022 so far. While the country requires individuals to be vaccinated prior to arriving, the tennis star traveled to the Oceanic nation believing he had a medical exemption that would allow him to play at the Australian Open without being vaccinated against COVID-19.

The saga, which lasted over a week, has seen Djokovic denied the chance to defend his title and deported. The decision came despite a last-ditch appeal that the Serb’s camp hoped would reverse the visa cancelation struck on him by Immigration Minister Alex Hawke.

Djokovic was initially granted a medical exemption to enter the country by two independent health panels after he tested positive for the virus in December, although it was later revealed he hadn’t observed self-isolation rules after contracting COVID-19.

After Djokovic left Australia for Dubai at the weekend, the lengthy period of uncertainty was brought to an end but has left fans of the tennis star unhappy and the Australian government under scrutiny by some and supported by others.

But despite the evident strict rules and guidelines for entering Australia, the country’s UFC champion doesn’t believe it’ll stop him from defending his gold in front of a home crowd soon.

Discussing the globally-covered tennis drama during a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Volkanovski suggested Djokovic’s situation is a prime example of why the UFC hasn’t tried to organize a card in the country.

Nevertheless, the New South Wales native expects the current rules and strictness surrounding the virus to die down in the coming months, paving the way for him to throw down in the Octagon with Australian cheers around him.

“Obviously, I care. But I mean, we’re just in this situation just right now. I feel like that’s gonna change. I think things will move on. I’m still hopeful, obviously, of defending my belt, and I’m hoping that’s the one after this one (UFC 273) that we can do it. I think it’s gonna happen, I really do.

“But yeah, (Djokovic) was a big story. I didn’t look too much into it but it was everywhere. But, that’s why, obviously, the UFC aren’t bringing it here. There’s a lot of hurdles to cross, so I think just time is what we need with all that.”

Alexander Volkanovski
USA Today Sports

While he hopes for a home fight soon, Volkanovski will have to make do with the United States for his next outing.

After Max Holloway was forced to withdraw from the pair’s scheduled trilogy clash for UFC 272 in March, the Aussie’s search for a new opponent landed him at the feet of featherweight veteran “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. The pair are expected to collide at UFC 273 in April.

While the location is yet to be made official, Volkanovski’s next defense is expected to go down at the VyStar Veterans’ Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida.

Do you think Alexander Volkanovski could still defend the UFC title in Australia in 2022 despite the result of Novak Djokovic’s situation?

Continue Reading Volkanovski Still Hopeful Of Australia Defense Despite Djokovic Drama at MMA News.

Volkanovski: You Duck Zabit, Get Suspended, Lose & Want A Title Shot?

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has slammed top-five contender Yair Rodríguez for calling for a title shot despite his inactivity and recent defeat.

Volkanovski was initially set to share the Octagon with Max Holloway for the third…

Yair Rodriguez, Alexander Volkanovski

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has slammed top-five contender Yair Rodríguez for calling for a title shot despite his inactivity and recent defeat.

Volkanovski was initially set to share the Octagon with Max Holloway for the third time. After dethroning “Blessed” in 2019 and immediately defending the title against him seven months later, “The Great” set the score at 2-0 in his rivalry against the 145-pound GOAT contender.

After Holloway rebounded with mightily-impressive victories over Calvin Kattar and Rodríguez in 2021, he earned a chance at redemption and a third shot at adding the first blemish to Volkanovski’s record. However, just days after the fight was announced for UFC 272, Holloway was forced to withdraw after aggravating a previous injury.

Following the news, it didn’t take long for a host of fighters to throw their names into the hat to replace the Hawaiian. Among them were former two-division UFC titleholder Henry Cejudo, Giga Chikadze, and Josh Emmett.

Despite returning to the UFC after a lengthy layoff last November and falling to defeat Holloway, Rodríguez also called out the champ, and he did so in a particularly hostile manner.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYcvBcYJzHG/?utm_source=ig_embed

“Do I really need to raise my hand @danawhite ? Heal up quick champ @blessedmma @alexvolkanovski I had respect for you before, but now, fuck you! You little bitch you know I’m next”

Volkanovski: Yair Callout “Blows Me Away”

Volkanovski’s mindset and attitude as featherweight king have always been clear to see: whoever is the best, the top contender, and deserving of a title shot, will get a title shot. Judging by that criteria, it’s understandable why the Australian was surprised at Rodríguez ‘s callout, especially the aggressive nature of it.

During a recent appearance on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, Volkanovski listed all the reasons why the Mexican was never going to get the shot, including his 2020 USADA suspension, his failed matchups with Zabit Magomedsharipov, and his recent loss to Holloway.

“One thing that surprises me and what annoys me, is the way he (Rodríguez) acted about it as if it was a no-brainer that he should be the next in line,” said Volkanovski. “And then starts carrying on and swearing and saying, ‘I had respect and fuck you,’ and all that. Are you serious? Let’s remember, let me bring you back, let’s be real for a second. Over two years you were pretty much running from Zabit? I didn’t wanna bring that up but you put me here. So, you’re running from Zabit, pulling out, you’re getting suspended from USADA, you’re being a diva and the UFC had so much hassle with you. It was a bunch of chaos.

“The UFC ain’t gonna take that’s serious. And then, let’s remember, he just lost. I don’t get it, I really don’t get it. You haven’t fought for how long, then you’re coming off a loss, and then you get angry at me because I don’t sit there and call you out.”

Rodríguez initially rejected a fight with Zabit in 2018, which led to his release, albeit a brief three-week one. The pair were then scheduled to clash multiple times, with “El Pantera” pulling out due to injuries.

Shortly after his UFC Vegas 8 bout with the Russian fell through, Rodríguez was handed a six-month suspension for failing to notify USADA of his whereabouts and being unavailable for testing. After eventually returning at UFC Vegas 42 a couple of months ago, the Mexican fell on the wrong side of a unanimous decision verdict against Holloway.

Given all those factors, Volkanovski is baffled by Rodríguez ‘s callout. He encouraged the #3-ranked contender to say it to his face if his remarks were truly how he feels and not just an attempt to hype up the matchup.

“It just blows me away. The way that some of these people (act),” added Volkanovski. “I don’t mind the guy. Whether he just thought that was his way of getting the title shot, maybe, I don’t know. But if he’s being real… Mate, if you’re gonna carry on like that, say it to my face. Or was it just trying to get the shot and build a bit of hype, I don’t know. But if that’s really what you feel about it, bring that same energy person as well. I didn’t do anything wrong. You’re the one who didn’t fight for over two years and who is coming off a loss.”

With Rodríguez and a host of other names failing to secure a shot at Volkanovski’s title, the champion now appears set to defend his gold against divisional veteran “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 in April.

Do you agree with Alexander Volkanovski? Was Yair Rodríguez wrong for calling the champ out like he did?

Continue Reading Volkanovski: You Duck Zabit, Get Suspended, Lose & Want A Title Shot? at MMA News.

Alexander Volkanovski Blasts Giga Chikadze After Calvin Kattar Loss

Alexander Volkanovski, Giga ChikadzeUFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski thinks Giga Chikadze got a big wake-up call in his loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 46. Volkanovski is set to defend his featherweight title against ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. He was originally supposed to face Max Holloway in a trilogy, but Holloway pulled […]

Alexander Volkanovski, Giga Chikadze

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski thinks Giga Chikadze got a big wake-up call in his loss to Calvin Kattar at UFC Vegas 46.

Volkanovski is set to defend his featherweight title against ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273. He was originally supposed to face Max Holloway in a trilogy, but Holloway pulled out with an injury just days after the fight was officially announced and booked.

After Holloway pulled out, Chikadze was one of the first featherweights who volunteered to step up on short notice. But, Chikadze was already booked against Kattar, and the UFC moved on to Jung as a replacement.

This created quite the response from Chikadze, who became hostile in a series of tweets with Volkanovski for allegedly passing him up. Chikadze would go on to lose in a lopsided bout to Kattar via unanimous decision.

During a recent interview with Ariel Helwani, Volkanovski criticized Chikadze for his performance and how he handled the featherweight title debacle.

“I think [UFC Vegas 46] was a big eye-opener for Giga,” Volkanovski said. “That, mate, [against] good guys, you can’t just rely on a kick. You know, the Giga kick. It just shows you, you nullify his Giga kick and he ends up being a punching bag. Again just, man, that’s why you’ve got to fight these contenders. Fight all the top guys, guys that are going to mix it up. See where you are before you start facing the champ. You could imagine when you talk about making adjustments, game planning, cardio, all these tools that I have — mate, I would have made him look really, really bad. You could imagine.”

Alexander Volkanovski, Giga Chikadze Went Back And Forth On Social Media Recently

Despite the loss to Kattar, Chikadze is still considered one of the top prospects in the featherweight division. While his loss to Kattar is a setback, he could get back in the thick of things with another streak.

The beef between Chikadze and Volkanovski could appear to just be getting started. These two could potentially meet in the Octagon in the future if everything falls into place.

Do you think we’ll ever see Alexander Volkanovski vs. Giga Chikadze? Who wins?

Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway React To Calvin Kattar’s UFC Vegas 46 Win

Alexander Volkanovski, Calvin Kattar, Max HollowayUFC featherweight legends Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway were just a few of the many MMA personalities who went wild during Calvin Kattar’s win over Giga Chikadze at UFC Vegas 46. Kattar, who came into UFC Vegas 46 as the underdog to the surging Chikadze, put on arguably the best performance of his career in […]

Alexander Volkanovski, Calvin Kattar, Max Holloway

UFC featherweight legends Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway were just a few of the many MMA personalities who went wild during Calvin Kattar’s win over Giga Chikadze at UFC Vegas 46.

Kattar, who came into UFC Vegas 46 as the underdog to the surging Chikadze, put on arguably the best performance of his career in Las Vegas. He overwhelmed and pressured Chikadze from the opening minutes of the fight and turned the Georgian prospect’s face into a bloody mess.

After five rounds of back-and-forth war, Kattar earned the unanimous decision win and a clean sweep on the judges’ scorecards.

With the victory over Chikadze, Kattar has now won three of his last four and rebounded off of a lopsided defeat to Holloway last year. Just minutes after the fight, Volkanovski and Holloway took to Twitter to congratulate Kattar on his victory.

Alexander Volkanovski, Max Holloway Gave Props To Calvin Kattar After Dominant Win Over Giga Chikadze

Holloway was supposed to face Volkanovski in a trilogy for the featherweight title but pulled out due to an injury. Chikadze was among the names who offered to step up on short notice, but he ended up getting passed up for Chan Sung Jung.

Kattar went on to eliminate the possibility of Chikadze fighting for the title next with an impressive performance to start the new year. Many believe that it was only a matter of time until Chikadze fought for the belt, but he’ll now have to wait a bit longer.

Kattar could face the Volkanovski/Jung winner next, depending on how long Holloway will be sidelined with his injury. Kattar could also potentially fight either Brian Ortega or Yair Rodriguez next in the meantime.

Regardless, Kattar’s stock has risen from this latest win, and he appears to be in the best shape of his career following his most disappointing loss last year.

Who do you want to see Calvin Kattar fight next?

Dana White Explains Why Henry Cejudo Didn’t Get Featherweight Title Shot, Cringe King Responds

Henry Cejudo, Dana WhiteUFC president Dana White didn’t look to Henry Cejudo to fill in against Alexander Volkanovski after Max Holloway pulled out of their trilogy. Cejudo hoped to get a featherweight title shot against Volkanovski on short notice, but the UFC and White opted to go with Chan Sung Jung (otherwise known as ‘The Korean Zombie’) as […]

Henry Cejudo, Dana White

UFC president Dana White didn’t look to Henry Cejudo to fill in against Alexander Volkanovski after Max Holloway pulled out of their trilogy.

Cejudo hoped to get a featherweight title shot against Volkanovski on short notice, but the UFC and White opted to go with Chan Sung Jung (otherwise known as ‘The Korean Zombie’) as a replacement. Jung last defeated Dan Ige in his previous UFC outing.

Cejudo has teased White over the past few months regarding a potential featherweight title shot, but White hasn’t budged on his demands. During a recent interview with BT Sport, White explained why Cejudo wasn’t in consideration as a replacement.

“I can tell you this, ‘The Korean Zombie’ has been here fighting,” White said. “This guy’s been retired. He’s been off for how many years now? And he wants to come in to fight Alexander Volkanovski?

“You got guys like the Zombie, Josh Emmett, Giga [Chikadze] — who is fighting this weekend — you’ve got these guys getting in there and doing it three times a year and working their way up. For Cejudo to retire and think he can jump into any weight division and take on the champion, that’s not how it works.” (h/t MMA Fighting)

After getting word of White’s remarks, Cejudo responded and hinted that he may be giving up on a pursuit of the 145-pound title.

“The thing is they’re scared. Dana White is scared,” Cejudo said on The Triple C and Schmo Show. “Dana White, the UFC, they don’t want it and I’m even sick and tired of trolling Volkanovski if the fight’s never gonna happen. It makes sense. Why not give me the opportunity, the chance to make history and become the first three-division champ? It’s a monopoly, man.”

Henry Cejudo Has Hinted At A Potential UFC Comeback

Cejudo has been sidelined for nearly two years since defending his bantamweight title against Dominick Cruz at UFC 249. He retired in his post-fight interview and vacated the title just days after the event.

Volkanovski will face Jung after an impressive performance against Brian Ortega at UFC 266. It was a gritty performance and began discussions about a possible trilogy with Holloway.

With Holloway sidelined with an injury, it’s unclear when he’ll return. In the meantime, it appears that Cejudo will be available if the UFC and White call.

Do you think Henry Cejudo will eventually fight for the featherweight title?

Giga Chikadze: Alexander Volkanovski Is The Easiest Fight In The Top 10

UFC featherweight Giga Chikadze believes Alexander Volkanovski would be an easier opponent for him than any other contender in the division’s top 10.

When Max Holloway withdrew from his scheduled trilogy clash with the reigning 145-pound king at UF…

Alexander Volkanovski, Giga Chikadze

UFC featherweight Giga Chikadze believes Alexander Volkanovski would be an easier opponent for him than any other contender in the division’s top 10.

When Max Holloway withdrew from his scheduled trilogy clash with the reigning 145-pound king at UFC 272, Chikadze was one of the first to throw his name into the hat as the replacement. That’s despite the fact he has top-five contender Calvin Kattar lined up for what is his biggest UFC fight to date this weekend.

After dispatching Edson Barboza with ease last August, “Ninja” has his chance to rise closer to contention in the UFC Vegas 46 headliner on Saturday night. But Chikadze, along with many in the MMA community, believes a victory should bring more than a rank rise. They think it should take the Georgian all the way to Volkanovski.

https://www.instagram.com/p/CYjjPSutSif/

Chikadze Isn’t Impressed By Volkanovski

Like the other fighters willing to challenge the Australian, including Yair Rodríguez and former two-division UFC champion Henry Cejudo, Chikadze has seemingly been snubbed in favor of #4-ranked featherweight “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung. That’s despite the fact Chikadze boasts a seven-fight UFC win streak and has the chance to add the established name of Kattar to his record on January 15.

After the champ made his desire to face fan-favorite brawler Korean Zombie known, the UFC has seemingly moved his next defense back to UFC 273 and added Jung to the contest, per Ariel Helwani.

During a recent interview with MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin, Chikadze reacted to Zombie becoming the frontrunner for the replacement opportunity. According to the in-form Georgian, Volkanovski is avoiding him because he knows “Ninja” is the biggest threat to his reign.

In contrast, Chikadze sees Volkanovski as the easiest opponent for him inside the featherweight top 10.

“100% (Zombie fight) is easier. It’s (an) easier task for them, for Volkanovski,” said Chikadze. “I’ve been fighting these type of guys all my life and making my life with that. He knows that I’m, for him, the hardest and strongest fight. That’s why he’s trying to avoid me. I understand he wants to stay safe and make money and this, but I’m here to become the champion.

“Honestly, for me, I think that’s the easiest fight in the top 10, bro. This guy cannot even reach me. When we stand together, what’s he gonna do? Some guys have a good submission (game), some guys have a good punch or a good technique, what does he have against me? Nothing.”

Unfortunately for Chikadze and his fans, it appears the UFC has moved forward with plans for Volkanovski vs. Korean Zombie. Nevertheless, if the Tbilisi native puts in an impressive performance this weekend and perhaps becomes the first man to finish Kattar in the UFC, he’ll be a hard man to deny when it comes to the next shot at gold.

Do you think Giga Chikadze deserves a title shot over The Korean Zombie?

Continue Reading Giga Chikadze: Alexander Volkanovski Is The Easiest Fight In The Top 10 at MMA News.