A debate has exploded over exactly how Alexander Volkanovski needs to win at UFC 276 this Sunday, and the Aussie champ is far from happy about it.
Alexander Volkanovski has laughed off UFC legend Daniel Cormier’s assertion that he must do more than simply beat Max Holloway to end their rivalry at UFC 276, saying: “That’s ridiculous … I win again and that’s all she wrote for us”.
Boasting an undefeated UFC career stretching six years and 11 fights, Volkanovski faces Hawaiian great Holloway in a hyped trilogy bout at UFC 276 this Sunday.
While the Wollongong native, 33, has won both previous meetings between the featherweight greats, Cormier told The Daily Telegraph this week the closeness of both results – via decision, then split decision – leaves questions hanging over exactly who is better.
So close was the last title showdown at UFC 251 in 2020, many US analysts and fans believe Holloway was victorious while some have even stated it should be the fighter dubbed ‘Blessed’ up two-zero.
Quizzed on exactly how the champ ends all debate over who is better, Cormier – who is now part of the UFC broadcast team — said Volkanovski must not only beat Holloway to end the rivalry, but do so comfortably on the stacked Las Vegas card.
“Every time you have a super close fight, there are always questions,” the two-division champion said.
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“So somebody has to separate themselves here.
“Otherwise we just have Max Holloway versus Alexander Volkanovski over and over again.
“You look at both guys, it’s crazy what these two do to everyone else (in the division).
“So if we don’t get some type of certainty in this fight, we are going to get these two guys fighting over and over.”
To which, Volkanovski says what?
“That’s ridiculous,” the champ responded from camp in the world’s fight capital.
“If I go out and get this done again, that’s it.
“I win again and that’s all she wrote for us.
“A fourth fight wouldn’t make sense.
“Nobody would want to see it.
“But I get it. He (Cormier) is good mates with Holloway … so I’m sure he wants Max to have as many chances as he can get.”
While Volkanovski has previously accused Cormier of showing “bias” against him in commentary, most recently after an emphatic win over America Brian Ortega, the fighter-turned-broadcaster revealed he actually agreed with the decision to crown Volkanovski champ following the first showdown at UFC 245 in 2019.
Asked about the Australian being angry at him previously, Cormier cackled: “Yeah, he was a little bit.
“He knows Max is my buddy and thought I was saying certain things.
“But that’s just the way it is.
“In most cases, people have a problem with the commentary.
“And you know what’s crazy? Immediately after that first fight between Alex and Max, I was sitting at home with all my buddies, all my training team – it was just before fighting Stipe Miocic – and I said to them ‘you know, I think Volkanovski won’.
“Everyone in the house was saying ‘Max, Max, Max’, because Max is one of our buddies.
“But I said ‘I think Volkanovski might’ve won this fight’.
“I just had a feeling.
“I was watching the end of the rounds and seeing how strategic he was in getting his takedowns, how strategic he was at scoring in those moments when he needed to score.
“So I felt like he won the fight and that’s what happened.”
Despite the closeness of their previous encounters however, Volkanovski stresses he should never have to face Holloway again once this fight is done.
Instead, the Australian wants to go up, win the UFC lightweight title and reign over two divisions.
“And I get that you never rule it out (with Holloway) completely,” he said. “If sometime down the track people are screaming for it again, OK.
“But I don’t see how that would make sense. Or how it would sell.
“To be honest I think it would be pretty silly.”
Originally published as UFC 276: Alexander Volkanovski brands Daniel Cormier’s Holloway analysis ‘ridiculous’