Alexander Volkanovski fully expects to close the year with a UFC belt wrapped around his waist.
Last week it was confirmed the featherweight will get his shot at gold on December 15 at UFC 245. Speaking with Combat TV, Volkanovski discussed the obstacle in his way: champion Max Holloway.
“(Holloway’s) a great fighter; obviously I’ve got a lot of respect for him,” Volkanovski said. “Not just anyone can do what he’s done, so he’s obviously really good.”
But as for a competitor, standing across the cage from him, “The Great” is confident his style has what it takes to bring the belt home to Australia.
“I’ve fought guys with bigger problems – that give me bigger problems – that I need to work around, but with Max, I don’t believe there’s that. I think I can fight my type of fight. I can sort of play what’s in front of me and do well. But the thing is, he is obviously really good so it doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a walk in the park. It just means that he doesn’t bring things that I need to be real careful of, like knockout power.”
In acknowledging cardio as one of Holloway’s strengths, Volkanovski believes it’s been a cornerstone of his own success.
“I can go all day. Everyone knows that. I’ve fought a lot of grinders. People that thought they were grinders, I’ve out-grinded them and crumbled them. So that just shows you that I ain’t gonna be pressured. And I’m gonna be training real hard – I’m already training – and by then I’m gonna have a full camp, I’m gonna be really fit, I’m gonna be explosive, I’m gonna be strong.”
“I bring a lot more problems to him than he does to me. Doesn’t mean it’s gonna be a walk in the park for me. It just means that I can fight my fight, be pretty comfortable and it’s gonna be a good fight. It will be very, very entertaining. We’re both gonna bring it and honestly, I think I’m knocking Max out. I say that with a lot of fights but, he’s obviously got a good chin, but he’s gonna put himself in positions that not many people like to be. He’s a gamer. If he wants to fight that fight with me, I’m gonna put him away.”
A near-flawless road to the title has meant seven straight wins since Volkanovski’s UFC debut in November 2016. The 30-year-old boasts an impressive 20-1 record and will enter the bout coming off a decision win over former champion José Aldo.
Holloway (21-4) has amassed a remarkable 14-fight win streak in the UFC’s featherweight division. A vie for interim lightweight gold against Dustin Poirier in April being his lone defeat in the past six years.
It is not yet confirmed whether the bout will serve as headliner for UFC 245, which takes place at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, on December 15. A bantamweight title clash between champion Amanda Nunes and Germaine de Randamie will also feature on the card.