UFC featherweight champion and current top pound-for-pound fighter Alexander Volkanovski has been open about a possible jump to 155 pounds. He even made weight and is officially the backup for this weekend’s UFC 280 headliner between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev, and expects the next 155-pound title shot for himself.
Makhachev isn’t so fond of the idea of fighting a shorter opponent. “Do Bronx,” however, is willing to take the challenge, but on his terms. As he said during the UFC 280 media day (quotes by MMA Fighting):
“It all depends on how this fight [with Makhachev] will go, so we see what we’ll do, but my timing is to fight here and fight in Brazil.
“If Volkanovski wants, let’s make it happen. But let’s do it in two ways: Let’s do the first one in Brazil, 155 pounds, and in November at 145,” said Oliveira, who also said he’s willing to fight Volkanovski in Perth for the featherweight title.
Fighting back down at 145 pounds may be a long shot for Oliveira, who missed weight a total of four times during his featherweight run, and even missed weight at lightweight in his previous outing at UFC 274. But according to him, he now has a “great team” around him to help him make the drop if he chose to do so.
Volkanovski eventually got word of Oliveira’s challenge, and this was his response:
“Mate, let’s do it,” Volkanovski told MMA Junkie. “If anyone could do it, it’s me. If he can get that done, let’s do it. Obviously, I don’t know if it makes too much sense, but I’m down. I’m down for whatever.
“I don’t know if that can even happen, but if they’re happy to do it, I’m happy to do it. It’s as simple as that.”
For now, Oliveira’s focus is on reclaiming the 155-pound belt that has been left vacant, as he goes up against Makhachev this Saturday in Abu Dhabi.