Alex Volkanovski can see the silver lining in not being a part of the action when the UFC returns to Melbourne in early October.

For the featherweight division's No1 contender, it wouldn't have been the best thing for business.

There had been suggestions the featherweight division's No1 contender would get his shot at Max Holloway's title on home soil as part of the UFC 243 card on October 6. The suggestions didn't come to fruition however, and Volkanovski will be watching the action along with almost 60,000 others in attendance at Marvel Stadium.

As much as he would have liked to fight in front of home fans, he told the Herald now his and Holloway's clash won't be overshadowed by the middleweight title bout between Israel Adesanya and Robert Whittaker. It's the same reason he wasn't disappointed to have flown to Canada earlier in the year to be an unneeded replacement option for Holloway's title defence against Frankie Edgar.


"I went there hoping they would still fight," he explained. "It's harder to really motivate for a fight when you don't even think you're fighting, but at the same time I would have been ready to take on whoever I had to. But I'm glad they fought and I got to watch it.

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"Now I get the promotion around my own title fight. Everyone can talk about me fighting Max Holloway, not Frankie then all of a sudden I take the fight.

"It will be much better for my brand for them to be promoting me the whole time, so I'm happy that happened and it looks like it's going to be on a bigger card."

After ending 2018 with a statement win over UFC veteran Chad Mendes, Volkanovski went into 2019 with the intention of being the champion by the end of the year. After picking former champion Jose Aldo apart for a unanimous decision win in May, he established himself as next in line for the title – all that was left to do was wait for Holloway to be ready.

Volkanovski indicated the plan was for the two to fight for the title on in Las Vegas on December 15 (NZ time) – the last pay-per-view event of the year.

"I said I wanted to be champion before 2019 ends and I can't wait much longer because that's the last card of the year and I don't want to become champion in 2020; I want to become champion in 2019 and roll into 2020 with the belt."

One title fight has already been booked on the card, with women's bantamweight champion Amanda Nunes defending her title against Germaine de Randamie, while no other title fights have been booked for the remainder of the year outside of October's middleweight contest.


"A lot of people have been talking about that date, and that is the plan, but nothing's signed so you never know. There's a lot of title fights to book in before the year's out as well, so you never know what happens, but I'm pretty sure that's what UFC want. I know Max wanted that earlier on and I want that.

"They're probably going to have a couple of title fights on that December card so, again, we don't know; that's what they're looking at, but we haven't signed anything and the UFC haven't given us confirmation or anything like that."