Jon Anik believes Alexander Volkanovski likely to make lightweight move with UFC 298 win

Alexander Volkanovski teased that a permanent move to lightweight could be in his future, and if he’s victorious against Ilia Topuria in the main event of UFC 298 to retain his featherweight title, UFC lead commentator Jon Anik can see it happening immediately.

“I think because he’s throwing those comments out into the universe even before the fight, it stands to reason that if he can beat Ilia Topuria, just given the way a lot of people talk about this title defense and how hard it’s going to be, I think this would be a nice capstone on his featherweight career,” Anik told MMA Fighting, “and a nice note upon which to go out if he decides to move up to 155 pounds and back to the prizefighting theme.

“Think about all of the big fights that there are for Alexander Volkanovski at 155 pounds. You could do worse than throwing him in a BMF setting, right? Certainly a fight against Justin Gaethje has some appeal. So I think the horizon is very monetarily sound for Volk no matter what division he decides to compete in, but yeah, you and me can pray that he’ll fight Movsar Evloev, but I’m not sure I see it happening.”

Anik is set to call UFC 298 this Saturday at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., where he’ll be joined in the booth by Joe Rogan and former middleweight champion Michael Bisping.

Volkanovski has yet to taste defeat in the UFC at 145 pounds, but enters 2024 following a losing year where he sandwiched a spectacular title defense over Yair Rodriguez in July between two setbacks at the hands of lightweight champ Islam Makhachev.

Topuria enters his first UFC title bout undefeated and coming off a one-sided decision win over Josh Emmett in his first promotional main event at UFC Jacksonville this past June.

While the majority of the MMA world’s eyes are set upon March’s loaded UFC 299 event — as well as April’s UFC 300 card, which has taken on a life of its own — Anik reminds fans not to sleep on UFC 298, especially when it comes to the main card and the main event.

“It’s one of the biggest fights of the year,” Anik said of Volkanovski vs. Topuria. “When I sat down with Ilia Topuria [in] December as part of that seasonal press conference, he was more than willing to lean into the fact that maybe this is a vulnerable time in which to be fighting Alexander Volkanovski, and not a lot of opponents would sort of lay that out there. Certainly, the fan base has been very suggestive in terms of this being a good time to maybe pluck off Alexander Volkanovski coming off of the knockout loss — decisive as that was, concussed in theory — against Islam Makhachev just a few short months ago, and that’s why this one didn’t happen in January and is happening in February.

“But Ilia Touria and Alexander Volkanovski lead the league in self-belief. I’m not sure we’ve had more self-belief in a singular UFC fight when you combine these two athletes, and it’s a very powerful thing. My former broadcast partner Brian Stann talks all the time about manifestation and self-belief, and I obviously still learn a lot from that individual, but Ilia Touria is absolutely fearless because he believes in the work that they’ve been doing while nobody’s really been paying attention.

“One of the things I asked him in December was, ‘When are your coaches going to get some shine?’ They’re very unheralded and [that shine is] absolutely coming if he can win a world championship on Feb. 17th. But I’ll be honest with you, I don’t think there’s ever a good time to face Alexander Volkanovski. Certainly, he’s going to be smarting after what happened last year in whatever condition he entered the fight in, so it’s a huge fight. Sixth title defense for Alexander Volkanovski, and with respect to Max Holloway and Jose Aldo, I think a lot of people out there are arguing that, on paper, this could be his toughest [fight and] title defense, and certainly those questions give way to answer soon.”

Source link

You May Also Like