Despite beating Max Holloway twice for the UFC featherweight belt, Australian fighter Alexander Volkanovski might have to face his vanquished opponent a third time.
UFC president Dana White was one of many to be vocally critical of Volkanovski’s split decision win over Holloway at UFC 251 on Fight Island earlier in July.
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His scepticism over the victory is such that, despite Volkanovski’s repeated desire to fight a new opponent, a trilogy fight could be on the cards.
In an interview with ESPN, White said the fact that many of Volkanovski’s key competitors - such as Yair Rodriguez, Calvin Kattar and various others - were all scheduled for fights in the coming weeks and months.
He also said fans were clamouring to see a third fight between the pair.
“It’s hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight again – do it a third time. I think a lot of the fans and the media would agree with that. I don’t know for sure,” White said.
“I’m sure Volkanovski doesn’t love that idea.
“He’s like, ‘Listen, I just beat this guy twice. You know?’
“And if you’re Volkanovski, you’re like, ‘Guess what? The media aren’t judges. Dana White is not a judge. None of these people are judges.The people that are assigned to judge the fight said I won twice.’
‘It’s hard to not say we can give Max a rematch for that fight again, do it a third time’ - #UFC President Dana White tells @espnmma that Holloway/Volkanovski III could be a possibility moving forward • Full interview 👉🏽 https://t.co/IfmLepgcRf #UFCHawaii #HawaiiMMA pic.twitter.com/UKeVtRCpaX— Rob DeMello (@RobDeMelloKHON) July 28, 2020
“So if you’re Volkanovski, I get it. And if you’re Volkanovski, you probably want to take a look at a different guy. I don’t know.
“I haven’t really talked to Volkanovski about it. It’s something I definitely need to do. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”
Ongoing UFC tension between Alexander Volkanovski, Dana White
After the fight White questioned journalists there about the decision and said there was some "bad judging".
Volkanovski believed White wanted the popular Hawaiian to win.
"I was surprised with him (White) making them comments but at the same time I'm not cause I know Max is a draw in our division," Volkanovski told AAP.
"I'd be lying if I said I didn't think that Dana wanted him to win."
Volkanovski conceded he lost the first two rounds after Holloway scored a knock down in each, but was "comfortable" he won the next three.
Volkanovski said the judges couldn't be blamed for the fight as the official stats showed he won.
"If Dana has a problem it has to be with the scoring system," Volkanovski told AAP.