Two champions, one mansion and an unmistakeable dig at Max Holloway – Alex Volkanovski reckons his rival is getting a deal which would never come his way if things were reversed.
Alexander Volkanovski says arch rival Max Holloway is living up to his ‘Blessed’ nickname at UFC 276, stressing no other fighter on the UFC roster would be granted this trilogy after consecutive losses.
Despite having already beaten Holloway twice — albeit by decision, then split decision — Australia’s No. 1 fighter is now readying to end things in a UFC featherweight showdown in Las Vegas, Sunday.
As part of preparations, Volkanovski has already jetted into the world’s fight capital to complete his final nine days of camp alongside UFC middleweight champ Israel Adesanya, with the pair sharing a sprawling “complex” just off the strip.
Watch UFC 276: Adesanya vs Cannonier + Volkanovski vs Holloway LIVE on Main Event available on Kayo & Foxtel, Sunday 3rd July from 12pm AEST. ORDER NOW >
While the Wollongong native is keen to keep the whereabouts of his training base private, it is understood the extensive property has more than a dozen bedrooms, plus its own basketball court and pool, for the two champions and their teams.
Volkanovski and Adesanya have formed a strong bond in recent years, with the regular training partners now headlining what is being tipped to be the biggest fight card broadcast by Australia’s Main Event this year.
In the main event, Adesanya defends against American Jared Cannonier while, in the co-main, Volkanovski defends his gold strap for a fourth time against Holloway.
While the 33-year-old has already beaten Holloway twice, their 2019 title fight went to decision while the second, seven months later, was only decided via split decision.
Regardless, Volkanovski said that if the roles were reversed, and it was he who had lost both fights, there is no way he would be getting a trilogy against one of the most popular fighters in UFC history.
Asked if this fight would be happening if it had been him go zero-two, Volkanovski replied: “Honestly, no it wouldn’t.
“Max is known as ‘Blessed’ Holloway.
“And he is blessed to be given this third shot.
“For the UFC to ask for it, then for me as champion to accept after already going two-zero, I think he’s in a very lucky position.
“So he should feel privileged and happy with this opportunity he’s got.
“Because I don’t think anyone in any other division gets this chance.”
Asked why he agreed to the third fight, Volkanovski said: “Right now, it works.
“Max is the No. 1 contender and we did have that close fight last time.
“So people are still interested and that’s why we’re going to make it happen.”
Quizzed on his Las Vegas digs, Volkanovski revealed this was the first time he and his crew, led by head coach Joe Lopez, had decided to stay away from the UFC host hotel.
Given he trains so closely with Adesanya’s City Kickboxing crew however, and boasts the Aucklander’s coach Eugene Bareman in his own corner, he said the decision was an easy one.
Others bunking down at the house include strong New Zealand lightweight Brad Riddell, who also fights on Sunday’s undercard, and fellow Team Volkanovski members Frank Hickman and Craig Jones.
“So we’ve got a whole crew here,” Volkanovski said. “And the place we’re staying, it’s massive — you wouldn’t really call it a house so much as a complex.
“Which isn’t something I would normally do.
“But who knows?
“Maybe it’s a one off, or maybe I really like the big house experience. We’ll see.
“I definitely think it’s good being among the boys, getting all that positive energy.
“And I want to feel that energy at the right times, too.
“I just know that I’m excited.
“I’ve been so chilled this whole camp.
“There’s been no pressure whatsoever.
“I’m so comfortable and confident. It really has been a breeze.”
Originally published as UFC 276: Alex Volkanovski chips rival Max Holloway over special treatment ahead of their rematch