UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski will be chasing history in February, and before that fight with Islam Makhachev happens for the lightweight title, two new contenders will battle it out for the interim 145-pound belt, which is something Volkanovski is happy about.
Volkanovski will headline UFC 284 and challenge the newly crowned lightweight champ in Makhachev at the RAC Arena in Perth, Western Austrailia on Feb. 12 (due to the time difference, the pay-per-view card will air stateside on Feb. 11). As announced on the UFC 281 broadcast this past Saturday, Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will battle it out for interim gold on that same card.
On Tuesday, Volkanovski was asked about the booking between Rodriguez and Emmett.
“I’m OK with it,” Volkanovski said at the UFC 284 Tickets-On-Sale Press Conference. “At the end of the day, I’m the champ so that gives me a clear guy. What a card to do it on. They get to show me who is next in the featherweight division, and here in Australia as well, so that builds that fight up anyway, but I’m more than OK with it.”
Volkanovski knows he has a tough test ahead of him with Makhachev, but has said since putting out the idea of chasing a second title that he wants to be as active as possible. The No. 1 Pound ranked pound-for-pound fighter in MMA Fighting’s Global Rankings still believes he will be able to carry both titles — should he defeat Makhachev — and have the ability to go up and down.
“Right now, I’m going to chase that second belt so I’m focusing on that,” Volkanovski said. “We’ll let them do their thing, hopefully [they] put on a show, give me a clear guy and then someone will be holding that interim belt, and I’ll be happy to take them on as soon as possible.
“I want to be active. I don’t want people waiting around for me and things like that, even though I don’t think they’ll need to. But I think this is good. It really sets up my next fight at featherweight.”