Unlike his namesake Alexander III of Macedon, Alexander 'the great' Volkanovski is used to being the underdog.

But much like the former King of Macedon was in his many conquests, Volkanovski has been calculated and dominant in his rise through the UFC's featherweight rankings.

He was the outsider against American Chad Mendes when they met in December last year, and stopped former title challenger in the second round.

He travelled to Brazil in May to face the 'King of Rio' Jose Aldo, where he won by unanimous decision in impressive fashion.


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It's been six years since Volkanovski has force fed his sole taste of defeat but again, when he fights Hawaiian Max Holloway for the UFC featherweight title at UFC 245 in Las Vegas in December, Volkanovski will find himself in familiar territory.

"I fought in Brazil and everyone was screaming at me I'm going to die, so it's not any worse than that," Volkanovski told the Herald.

After making the switch from rugby league to mixed martial arts a decade ago, for the City Kickboxing-trained Volkanovski being in the position to challenge for a world title was once just a dream.

Alexander Volkanovski beat Jose Aldo in Brazil in May. Photo / Getty Images
Alexander Volkanovski beat Jose Aldo in Brazil in May. Photo / Getty Images

He quickly became a force in the local Australia scene first at welterweight before dropping to lightweight, then finding a home in the UFC's featherweight division.

"When I first made the decision, or even before I started training MMA, I was listening to music and picturing myself going and winning the belt, but there were just little dreams.

Once I started training, it was another dream but again you think yeah I'll do this and I'll do that, but actually doing it is a totally different thing.

"A lot of people have dreams and everyone chases them and that sort of stuff, but not everyone can actually catch those and make it happen. I'm around the corner from doing that. I can't wait.


"It's been a bit of a journey, and my family has been on that with me. Now I can finally give back to them. It's unreal. I get to bring back a nice shiny present; an early Christmas present."

The 30-year-old will meet Holloway – unbeaten in his last 14 fights at featherweight - in the co-main event at UFC 245.

Since claiming the title in 2016, Holloway has defended it four times. Speaking about the bout against Volkanovski at a press conference in New York on Saturday, Holloway said: "He's the next cupcake on the list and I can't wait to taste the flavour."

When asked about the comment by the Herald, Volkanovski laughed it off as he knew it wasn't meant with any disrespect and, like he has done throughout his UFC career, he was ready to shock the MMA world.

"Don't be surprised if I make it look rather easy. That's no disrespect to Max, just stylistically if I'm fit enough, which I know I will be, I could come away with this … I won't be surprised if I win all five rounds if it does go to a decision. Again, that's no disrespect to him; I just don't think he can do what he has been doing to his last opponents to me.

"He's a volume puncher, he's not going out there to look for these big, massive knockouts. That's something that really does work in my favour ... I'm very calculated fighter so I won't take unnecessary risks, but I believe I can take more risks this fight. It's going to be a cracker and in December you'll see what I'm saying once we start going at it.

"I hope he likes chilli, because this cupcake's a spicy one."