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Volkanovski postpones title defense due to COVID-19: Even if UFC 251 happens, it’s not ‘a good idea for me’

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Alex Volkanovski won’t be defending his title any time soon.

MMA: UFC 245-Holloway vs Volkanovski Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

It was looking likely that Alex Volkanovski (21-1) was going to defend his title in a rematch against Max Holloway (21-5) at UFC 251 in Perth. Although contracts weren’t signed for the fight, any chance of Volkanovski now defending his title on June 6th is now off the table.

Volkanovski won the title against Holloway by decision back at UFC 245 in December of last year.

With coronavirus causing travel problems around the world, Volkanovski spoke to ESPN about the struggles of returning to Australia after being in the U.S.A.

“We’d [Volkanovski and coach Joe Lopez] come from America, and even though the [self-quarantine] rule wasn’t in yet, we decided to not train with others; so we just trained with each other, we just hit pads and were doing whatever we could.”

“We didn’t go and do any strength and conditioning at the other place [gym]; I’m trying to take all the precautions I can because coming from America they were saying you were higher risk,” Volkanovski said. “So even though we didn’t have to [self-quarantine], we thought it was best to do that. And we’ve been doing that ever since

Even though the fight with Holloway wasn’t signed, Volkanovski said all signs pointed towards the rematch. But with the current outbreak of COVID-19 and the timing of recovering from a broken hand, fighting at UFC 251 just wasn’t a good idea for Volkanovski.

“I’m in a weird position where I’m being quarantined; not being able to train properly; not being able to get over to New Zealand ... so are we still going to be doing that card? I just don’t think that’s a good idea for me, especially coming off a broken hand. For me to try and overcome an injury and then go into a camp, and not be fully prepared in the camp, it’s not a good idea. So I don’t think the Perth card will go ahead, but if it does I don’t know the chances of me being on it.”