Just days after Max Holloway signed up to fight featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski for a third time at UFC 272 in March it’s emerged that he’s now been forced out of the bout due to an injury.
The 30-year-old has reportedly aggravated a prior injury and as such won’t be able to attempt to beat his nemesis, having lost twice to him already in the past few years by unanimous decision and then split decision.
In the wake of the news a number of other fighters have been quick to raise their hand to take his place in order to fight Volkanovski for the belt.
That included retired former double-champ Henry Cejudo who wrote, “Triple C to the rescue. @danawhite you have my number.”
Among the likes of others such as Josh Emmett and Bryce Mitchell, a signal from Giga Chikadze that he was also interested provoked a response from Volkanovski.
“All respect bro, but you’re fighting for rank #5 next week,” Volkanovski responded to Chikadze, who fights Calvin Kattar next Saturday night. “See you soon!!”
Meanwhile, The Korean Zombie soon became a front-runner for the title shot after his manager Jason House confirmed the No.4 ranked fighter was on-board.
“KZ is more than willing to step in and fight for the title at UFC 272,” House said. “Looking at the rankings, he is the next highest-ranked fighter coming off a win and this is a fight many have talked about for quite a while now. Given the opportunity, he will show that he’s the best in the world.”
And it appears that Volkanovski likes the idea of fighting TKZ too.
“@KoreanZombieMMA Let’s do this!! #UFC272,” Volkanovski wrote.
Needless to say Chikadze, who is currently ranked No.8 but is riding a seven-fight winning streak in the division that includes recent TKO victories over the likes of Cub Swanson and Edson Barboza wasn’t impressed.
“[Alexander Volkanovski] The chump Picking up all the easiest link in a division Zombie and specially Rodriguez he’s suck I will handle my business on Saturday and I’m gonna kick your midget head ass back Singapore or Ireland whatever you from [Dana White] [Sean Shelby].”
The No.3 Yair Rodriguez was another fighter who was eager to get in on the action, and he too was livid that The Korean Zombie, who he beat in spectacular fashion, appears to be on course to get the fight.
“@alexvolkanovski I had respect for you before, but now, f*ck you! You little b**ch you know I’m next,” Rodriguez ranted.
Volkanovski responded and suggested there’s a still a glimmer of hope for Rodriguez, though it seems unlikely as things stand.
“Yair Rodriguez Maaaaaate calm down,” Volkanovski responded. “You have fought once in over 2 years and are coming off a loss. If zombie doesn’t happen you might get lucky.”
That didn’t seem to appease the fired-up Rodriguez though.
““I could came out of retirement and beat you anytime, that’s why I know you don’t want me to get “lucky” @alexvolkanovski,” Rodriguez retaliated. “Also, I have shown more heart in a single fight than you in all of yours. You know where to look if you want a real war, if not keep on scrolling. I’m sure you being the champ can pick and choose.”