Featherweight kingpin Alexander Volkanovski gave lightweight champion Islam Makhachev his toughest fight to date at UFC 284 on Saturday night, and though he lost by unanimous decision he’s now calling for an immediate rematch.
“Yeah, 100 percent [I want a rematch],” Volkanovski said on “The MMA Hour” show. “He’s already talked to the press that he wants to do the rematch. He went back to his corner (after the fight) before they announced who the winner was, obviously it was a close fight, but I think he thought he might’ve lost. He was even saying he needs a rematch to his corner when he went back to his corner. He thought he lost. … He knows. I’m not taking anything away. It was a close fight, but yeah.”
“A lot of people thought I won that fight,” Volkanovski continued. “I thought I won that fight. I moved up. We’re talking about pound for pound.
“Imagine if we were the same size. Imagine if we were the same weight class. Imagine if he was a featherweight. Yeah, I don’t want to be that guy, but if he was just a featherweight in my division, I’d squash him. I’d squash him. It’s a walk in the park.”
There were definitely a significant number of fans who thought Volkanovski should have won on the night and his stock certainly rose as a result, even in defeat.
The judges decision wasn’t overly controversial though when you consider that 20 media journalists scored the fight in Makhachev’s favor compared to just 5 for Volkanovski according to mmadecisions.com.
Nevertheless, given how well Volkanovski performed and how he was in the ascendency in the final round there’s certainly an appetite for a rematch and if so ‘The Great’ feels that the featherweight division can continue on without him for now with Yair Rodriguez running the show in his absence as the interim champ.
“That’s why we’re doing the interim. I don’t want to be holding up the division, so [Rodriguez’s] going to be the guy looking out after that while I’m gone. He can hold that until I’m there.”