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Alexander Volkanovski – what next for UFC’s P4P champ?

Alexander Volkanovski vs Max Holloway

Does Alexander Volkanovski have the strength and skills required to move up a weight division in the Ultimate Fighting Championship, or should he tread cautiously in this ambitious endeavour?

Few fighters will be watching the UFC 280 main event as closely at the current king of the pound-for-pound rankings as Volkanovski. The dominant featherweight champ has expressed a desire to move up a division, and if this comes to plan, will presumably face either Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev in early 2023.

Volkanovski’s career is at a crossroads. He has cleaned out the featherweight division and finds himself bereft of challengers. Despite his meteoric success, the Aussie is hungry for more. He wants to stay active, crack heads, and make piles of money. Without an unexpected injection of featherweight talent, there a few fights left to motivate Volkanovski at that class.

READ: UFC prohibits fighters and team members from betting on bouts

While the move up to the lightweight makes sense from a career perspective, we are almost certain it will end badly for the featherweight. Oliveira and Makhachev are both big, heavy hitters with incredible ground games. Volkanovski stands a mere 5’6″ and will be at a huge height and reach disadvantage in the higher division.

Bulking up to 155 pounds will slow his offence, and he will also face an enormous skill disadvantage on the mat. Stuffing takedowns from 145-pound fighters will seem like child’s play compared to the threat posed by a towering lightweight with sizeable physical advantages. Makhachev is known to spar and grapple with heavyweights and will likely make short work of the much smaller man. We cannot imagine the Aussie lasting a single round against such pressure.

So, what should Volkanovski do? Should he cool his heels and wait for a solid featherweight challenger to emerge? Or should he fight a lesser lightweight to gauge the difference between classes? Both options appear preferable to jumping into the deep end against the eventual UFC 280 main event winner.

Much as we love the swagger and confidence of the Aussie, we are convinced he faces complete annihilation at the hands of the apex predators waiting in the 155-pound division. Patience is a virtue, and Volkanovski would be wise to carefully consider his next move.

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