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Jon Anik: Alexander Volkanovski vs. Aljamain Sterling Might Just Happen In 2023, But Ilia Topuria Has ‘Inside Lane’ | MiddleEasy

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‘El Matador’ is now a top 5 contender in the featherweight division, proving he’s a force to be reckoned with after dominating Josh Emmett at UFC Jacksonville. He’s even caught the eye of Volkanovski, who has touted Topuria as a potential title challenger.

Volkanovski’s Hit-List

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“So, I think maybe two or three more [fights before Volkanovski rematches Makhachev]. I would’ve liked to have seen Arnold Allen make that climb and get into that fight, but that doesn’t seem like it’s gonna happen right now. But, I do believe in terms of bolstering your legacy, if that’s the goal for Volk, there’s a lot of big and winnable flights in that top 10 at ’55. So, I think that’s an eventuality.”

“I think Topuria has got the inside lane,” Anik continued. “I do think that that fight appears to appeal to Volkanovski at this stage of his career.Volkanovski doesn’t want to look past the unpredictable ‘Pantera’ but he can’t help but see two potential fights in his rear-view mirror. Getting revenge against former foe Islam Makhachev at lightweight still remains an ultimate goal for Volkanovski, but ‘The Great’ has entertained other opponents in the meantime.

Topuria Next After Rodriguez?

Alexander Volkanovski isn’t short of challengers at this moment of his career.“The two names he injected in our fighter meeting [are] Aljamain Sterling and Ilia Topuria,” Anik told The Schmo. “So, I do believe that the Aljamain Sterling fight appeals to Volkanovski greatly. Aljo has a title offense, of course, with ‘Suga’ Sean O’Malley… But, the calendar may align at some point for Volkanovski and Sterling later this year. You just never know.”
There are many fights for Alexander Volkanovski to entertain, but first things first, he needs to take care of business against Yair Rodriguez this weekend.

While Anik believes the super-fight between Sterling and Volkanovski could happen as early as this year, it looks like Sterling will need a break this fall… that’s where Ilia Topuria comes in.Sterling, the UFC Bantamweight Champion, has made it clear that his fight against O’Malley will be his last at 135lbs. ‘The Funkmaster’ plans to move to featherweight after this title defense to let teammate Merab Dvalivshvili get his own crack at UFC gold.

Published on July 7, 2023 at 3:26 pm

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