Alexander Volkanovski plans to be backup for UFC 280 lightweight title fight

·3 min read

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has plans on being an emergency option for the upcoming lightweight title fight should something go wrong ahead of UFC 280.

The pay-per-view event takes place Oct. 22 in Abu Dhabi, and is topped by a vacant lightweight title bout between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev.

Volkanovski, who broke his left hand in his recent title defense against Max Holloway at UFC 276, says he plans on being ready to step in and fight for his second UFC title.

“I want to get back in,” Volkanovski said in an interview on Daniel Cormier’s YouTube channel. “I’m actually thinking, believe it or not – I’m thinking of, because I’m still training, of being if they need a backup fighter, I’m gonna be the guy that’s gonna be there. … I’m telling them I want to be there. I want to be the backup. I’m going to be fit enough, I’m going to get enough of a camp to stay in good enough fitness, and I’ll do it. That’s the type of guy I am.

As I always say, I’ll make sure no one else can take that opportunity away from me. Because if someone else goes and does that, you know what I mean, then that puts me on the side and then I got to wait even longer. I don’t like that. I’m happy to sit there and if someone gets injured, or doesn’t make weight, or whatever, I’ll slip in.”

Should the fight go off without a hitch, Volkanovski also gave his prediction on who he thinks wins the fight, and how the division would play out from that point forward.

“Charles, I think if he wins, he fights early next year,” Volkanovski said. “Islam wins, I feel it’s more mid-year, and I don’t want to wait that long. … Who do I expect holds that belt after that fight? Probably Islam. But, I’ll be there watching just in case I need to step in.”

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Volkanovski is still currently sporting a cast on his injured hand, but has still been doing what he can to stay in shape for the opportunity at lightweight. In the meantime, he feels some of his featherweight peers that are close to the top should be more vocal about claiming the next title shot when he returns to 145 pounds, even if it means an interim title fight.

“Here I am, busted hand, just so no one can take a spot away from me, going in probably underprepared,” Volkanovski said. “I’ll still be prepared, but I’m willing to go and be a backup fighter for absolute killers in the lightweight division just so no one takes that opportunity away from me. … I’m sure I’m not that much different, I’m sure everyone else thinks like that, but do they really back themselves.

“Show me. Show me you back yourselves. Go and take that No. 1 spot, leave me no choice. I’ll sit there and say you are the man, you’re getting that shot. It’s that easy.”

Story originally appeared on MMA Junkie