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Calvin Kattar ‘staying ready’ to serve as backup for Volkanovski vs. ‘Korean Zombie’ at UFC 273

Kattar recently returned to competition and earned a unanimous decision over Giga Chikadze at UFC Vegas 46. 

Calvin Kattar at UFC 220.
Calvin Kattar at UFC 220.
Photo by Mike Lawrie/Getty Images

Should something happen to either Alexander Volkanovski or Chan Sung Jung (better known as ‘The Korean Zombie’) ahead of their featherweight championship fight at UFC 273, Calvin Kattar is ready to step in as a replacement.

Having spent a year away recovering from damage sustained during his fight against Max Holloway at UFC on ABC 1, Kattar made a triumphant return at UFC Vegas 46 this past January. The New England Cartel product reintroduced himself to the rest of the division and battered a fellow ranked contender in Giga Chikadze en route to a unanimous decision win. Now weeks removed from his win, the 33-year-old has already resumed training for another UFC appearance.

On a recent episode of the Believe You Me podcast with Michael Bisping and Anthony Smith, Kattar revealed he has asked the UFC to be the backup fighter for Volkanovski vs. Jung in April.

“In my head, I’m planning on [being] the replacement,” said Kattar. “It’s not happening yet, but they said they’re gonna let me know as a replacement for Volkanovski and ‘Zombie’, so staying ready for that.

“I’d like to. I mean, why not? It can’t hurt. I’m waiting to get an OK from the UFC. If that is the case, they’re gonna let me know in a certain timeframe. But once they do, if they let me know — and even if they don’t — in my head, it’s like try to chase that dog with a bone. If something happens, they’re gonna want me, so keep my ass in the gym, stay ready. Just another reason to focus on it and get ready for something and have something to compete for.”

Volkanovski was scheduled to complete a trilogy against Holloway, who earned another championship opportunity with a unanimous decision over Yair Rodriguez at UFC Vegas 42. However, days after Volkanovski vs. Holloway 3 was announced, ‘Blessed’ was forced to withdraw after suffering an undisclosed injury while training.

Once Holloway was out, Jung was then tapped as the next viable option. Despite not being the fight he expected, Kattar said he is still excited to see what happens when the ‘Great’ and ‘TKZ’ meet.

“It’s not the fight that we asked for or wanted, but it’s the one we’re gonna get. Hopefully it pans out. I think it’ll make for an exciting matchup for sure. I don’t think those two guys could be in a fight without it being exciting. I don’t know. You would think the champ, right? But we’ll see what ‘Zombie’ does.”