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UFC champ Alexander Volkanovski on potential lightweight move: ‘I want to keep shocking people’

The UFC featherweight champion is excited for a new challenge at lightweight. 

Alexander Volkanovski is used to silencing his doubters. And the UFC featherweight champion wants to continue doing that as he pursues champ-champ status.

Following a successful defense against Max Holloway at UFC 276, Volkanovski expressed interest in going from 145 pounds to 155 pounds for his next fight. Since he completed his trilogy and closed the chapter with Holloway in dominant fashion, UFC president Dana White supported Volkanovski and the potential move.

Though sure he can compete with the upper echelon of the lightweight division, some have questions on how well Volkanovski would fare. The ‘Great’ looks forward to answering them when he moves up.

“Just when people wouldn’t of thought I couldn’t get better or even level up again, I’m doing that,” said Volkanovski on Fight Week on Fox. “And next time I go in, I want to do the same and keep doing that. We’re moving up to lightweight. Again, people are going to be doubting me. I love that. I want to be the underdog. I want people to [say], ‘Oh, he surely can’t improve and do this and do that.’ Let’s do it. I want to do it. I want to keep shocking people, keep proving myself and proving my worth and keep doing what I’m doing. I’m going to raise the bar every time I step in there.”

Volkanovski also addressed the current landscape of the featherweight division. The City Kickboxing star previously said that it needs to ‘sort itself out’ and figure out who is the new No. 1 contender. Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez have emerged as options after their respective wins over Calvin Kattar and Brian Ortega, but it is unclear who should get a championship opportunity first.

Without a clear No. 1 contender, Volkanovski has set his sights on a new challenge in the meantime.

“I’m in a position now where I want to take my best options,” said Volkanovski. “What’s the best route for me and things like that. Obviously lightweight — I’ve been talking about wanting to do that, and I didn’t wait until I went out there and finished that chapter with Max to really call for it. I’m the type of guy I feel like it needs to be earned. You ain’t just going to call for things if it’s not deserved.

“I think I deserve it,” continued Volkanovski. “A lot of people are talking about it and want it, so I want to go out and take on that challenge. I know a lot of people want to see it. Right now, there’s a lot of killers in our division. But I want a clear No. 1 guy. That’s the only problem right now. You’ve got guys like Josh Emmett, Yair Rodriguez, Arnold Allen, who’s another massive guy, a great dude and a great fighter. It’s going to be a challenge when he’s there. So I wanted to give him a shout for that. But I think the two guys that are maybe the closest are Yair and Josh Emmett.”

Volkanovski suffered a broken thumb in his fight against Holloway and underwent surgery recently. The 33-year-old expects to be out of action for three months but may not return to the Octagon until early 2023.