Volkanovski getting hungry to return to UFC action

By Melissa Woods
Updated June 5 2024 - 4:10pm, first published 4:07pm
Alex Volkanovski is targetting a return to the UFC Octagon towards the end of the year. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)
Alex Volkanovski is targetting a return to the UFC Octagon towards the end of the year. (Joel Carrett/AAP PHOTOS)

Alex Volkanovski says his next featherweight fight will be to regain his UFC world title but when, and against whom, are still to be decided.

The Australian bruiser lost his title in February to Ilia Topuria with a knock-out in the second round, ending his four-year reign as featherweight king.

That came after three fights within a year, including two losses to Russian lightweight champion Islam Makhachev; the second a brutal defeat in October when he stepped in as an injury replacement on just 10 days notice.

The 35-year-old told AAP he recognised he needed some time out of the Octagon after such a punishing schedule.

"That's always going to play a part ... I'm probably doing now what I should have done (after the second Makhachev defeat)," Volkanovski said.

"That's just the mindset I have, I'm not scared of any challenge."

He has been embracing life as the family cook, chauffeur and personal trainer for his young daughters, who play soccer and run cross country.

He was in Melbourne on Wednesday, showing off his cooking skills in a partnership announcement between UFC and Crown.

But he said after a recent training camp in Thailand his hunger was growing to get back to fighting, eyeing a return before the end of the year.

With Topuria still to lock in a first title defence, the timeline means that Volkanovski may fight again at lightweight before his title chance comes again.

If Topuria opts to fight Max Holloway, Volkanovski may look to fight American legend Dustin Poirier, who lost to Makhachev last weekend.

"I know my next featherweight fight will be for the title, 100 per cent," the Wollongong fighter said.

"I told the UFC that I would wait until later in the year- October, November, December - and I think they're looking around September.

"If that's going to happen, fine, but it also means I will have to wait too long (for the featherweight title fight) and I don't want to be on the sidelines until like March-April.

"I put the feelers out so (for Poirer) I may do something later in the year in the lightweight division.

"Nothing is locked in but I'm ready to get the ball rolling soon ... the fire is still there to get that belt back."

Volkanovski could retire as one of the sport's all-time greats but said he felt he had more to add to his legacy.

"I've always had the drive to be better and chase whatever it is," he said.

"Get me back in there and doing my thing because I've still got it and I'm feeling strong, still feeling fast, fit and I want to show everyone that I'll be back and I'll be champion again."

Australian Associated Press