Whereas Conor McGregor was tweeting about farts, or sharts, or no matter different phrase you’d use to explain the Irishman’s current performances, Australian Alexander Volkanovski was doing what he’s all the time executed within the UFC: successful.
Volkanovski defended his featherweight title for the second time on Sunday (AEST). However possibly extra importantly, lastly bought it by the oft-stubborn collective cranium of the struggle world: he’s good.
Like, on-the-way-to-becoming-the-best-featherweight-ever good.
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It feels considerably weird that Sunday (AEST) acted as a sort of coming-out occasion for Volkanovski. He was already the featherweight champion of the world, with wins over the 2 different males within the dialogue for biggest 145-pounder of all time.
And but, going into his struggle with Brian Ortega, it felt like Volkanovski, who has now received all 10 fights he’s had within the UFC, felt he had one thing to show.
It didn’t assist that he dethroned possibly the preferred man within the organisation in Max Holloway; stealing the belt, then defending it in a double-act that left many screaming ‘theft!’ as an alternative of recognising what they’d seen. That’s, Volkanovski backing up a win over Jose Aldo in Rio de Janeiro, with back-to-back wins towards Holloway.
Nonetheless, it took Volkanovski’s head practically exploding — twice — in Ortega’s tight grip to get everybody’s consideration — for actual.
It took near-defeat for these watching on to open their eyes what some have seen for years. The unbelievable composure of a fighter who by no means appears flustered within the cage, regardless of being stung by Frankie Edgar, going through Aldo in enemy territory, or turned purple by Ortega. The struggle IQ of a person who short-circuits his rivals; recreation plans dialled up by long-time head coach Joe Lopez and the mastermind behind Metropolis Kickboxing’s rise, Eugene Bareman. A multifaceted brawler who can stand and commerce, wrestle for days, all completely complemented by a fuel tank which will simply be unrivalled within the UFC. And a man who joins Anderson Silva, Kamaru Usman, Khabib Nurmagomedov and Royce Gracie as the one fighters begin 10-0 within the UFC.
That’s not simply good. That’s traditionally nice.
“All them doubters, I’m going to maintain proving you fallacious,” Volkanovski mentioned post-fight.
“Time and time once more. Deliver it.”
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It feels foolish to say that the respect received on Sunday will really feel like Volkanovski’s largest accomplishment; he’s a singularly-focused champion who cares provided that his hand is raised.
However he’ll discover the change. Simply as he observed the dialog when these on-line tried to undermine his victories over Holloway.
In opposition to Ortega, he noticed his championship life flash earlier than his eyes. These watching on from dwelling noticed him survive one thing that only a few folks within the organisation might have. Additionally they watched him beat up Ortega within the moments that he wasn’t being strangled; an elite combined martial artist who’s creating historical past as he goes on.
With Holloway and Yair Rodriguez scheduled to struggle earlier than the yr is up, don’t be shocked if we get the Holloway trilogy early subsequent yr.
This time, although, there’ll be no questions over Volkanovski’s title credentials.