Alexander Volkanovski, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) featherweight champion, is ready to show fans why he has been undefeated for nearly five years. The fighter is scheduled to square off with Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 on February 17 at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas. The pair were originally speculated to headline UFC 297, but Volkanovski’s previous knockout defeat to the lightweight division’s champion, Islam Makhachev, led to a delayed featherweight title matchup.
“The Great,” as Volkanovski is known, decided to risk it all when he challenged Makhachev on just 10 days notice in a rematch for the lightweight title. However, things didn’t go as planned for the Australian fighter, who suffered a severe first-round knockout loss to the Dagestani. Despite this setback, Volkanovski maintains self-assurance. Anticipating a confident entry from Topuria who seems buoyed by his recent fighting form, Volkanovski feels this confidence surge is less about his skill level and more about capitalizing on his recent setback at lightweight.
As Volkanovski shared with Fox Sports Australia, he recognizes Topuria’s potential, acknowledging the latter’s multi-dimensional skill and power. However, he feels that his own varied skill set and strategic understanding of the game will prove “too much” for Topuria to handle. He expressed, “He’s a young, hungry dude, undefeated. Very, very confident but I think he needs a little bit of humbling, so I’m glad to be the man to do that…I’m sure he’ll enter confident, probably even more so after my last performance. There’ll be people wondering, ‘What’s going on here?’ I can’t wait to show them why I’ve been the reigning champion of this division for so long.” According to predictions, if Volkanovski triumphs over Topuria at UFC 298, it would be the sixth title defense in his distinguished reign at 145 pounds.