Alexander Volkanovski has been hungry for an opponent, a new one. The current UFC featherweight champion finally gets a challenger, thanks to the Brian Ortega vs The Korean Zombie showdown at UFC Fight Island 6 this past weekend (watch highlights).
After two back to back wins over former 145-pound champion Max Holloway, the Australian MMA fighter was somewhat briefly linked (at least verbally) to the third fight with “The Blessed”. While the first fight was unanimously scored in favor of Volkanovski, the rematch heard a close split decision, where two judges had it 48-47 for the champion, and one judge gave the same to former titleholder.
After UFC 251, Dana White said that at that time the majority of potential challengers had been already booked for other bouts, including Ortega and Chan Sung Jung (The Korean Zombie). He also opinioned that it was “hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight again, do it a third time”.
“I think all of the fans and the media would agree with that,” White said. I don’t know for sure.”
Volkanovski did not appear exactly interested in the idea. “What, we are just gonna keep fighting until Max wins?” he said on Submission Radio in July.
The last weekend’s fight between Ortega and Korean Zombie dotted the i’s and crossed the t’s. “T-City” comfortably earned a unanimous decision, with all judges scoring the fight 50-45. Importantly, he also got the top spot in the featherweight class – right below the champion, which makes him the next in line to challenge for the belt.
“Finally we have some direction in this division, get in there and take that #1 spot,” Alexander Volkanovski posted on Twitter after the fight. “That’s all I wanted!”
Finally we have some direction in this division, get in there and take that #1 spot….that’s all I wanted!! #ufcfightisland6
— Alex Volkanovski (@alexvolkanovski) October 18, 2020
Brian Ortega was in action for the first time in almost two years. An upcoming bout against Volkanovski will be his second attempt to earn UFC gold. In December 2018 he challenged then champion Holloway, who retained the belt via fourth-round TKO. The fight was stopped by the doctor due to massive punishment taken by challenger.
The date and location for Volkanovski vs Ortega is to be determined. A day before UFC Fight Island 6 Dana White spoke to reporters, saying he “didn’t know”, when asked whether it was possible for Volkanovski to travel and fight Ortega in the US.