Sunday, January 24, 2021

UFC champion Alex Volkanovski calls out Jeff Horn and Jake Paul

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Alex Volkanovski was in the crowd to witness Paul Gallen’s unanimous victory over MMA legend Mark Hunt last week.

The UFC featherweight champion’s ears pricked up when the ex-soccer star called out Rob Whittaker. He has a big Australian name in mind: former world champion Jeff Horn.

“There are a lot of boxers my weight. At the end of my UFC career, I would like to do some boxing,” said Great world of sport.

“If we could do that during the UFC career, there are a few hurdles you have to overcome, but it’s something I would definitely do.

“I even had a boxing match – I’m 1-0 on the pro circuit.”

Crossover and exhibition fights are all the rage right now. Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones. Jake Paul vs. Nate Robinson. Gallen vs. Hunt, and now Floyd Mayweather has confirmed he will face Paul’s brother Logan next year with what will surely be the easiest money he has ever won.

Add to the mix Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with the entertainment and music platform Triller, to create a new boxing league called The Fight Club, and this type of fighting is here to stay.

After all, Tyson vs Jones Jr was the best-selling fight of 2020, with 1.6 million PPV sales according to reports, surpassing Jorge Masvidal’s fight with Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.

Volkanovski is under contract with Dana White and is coming off a first title defense victory over Max Holloway, with the sequel between the two causing more controversy than their first clash.

The Australian MMA star is set to defend his title for the second time against Brian Ortega in February. The 32-year-old has declared his commitment to defending his title and even intends to switch to lightweight to have a crack in another belt.

The Wollongong native is not the trashy type. He is more inclined to let his skills dictate the circumstances inside and outside of competition. Still, that didn’t stop Volkanovsky from calling Horn, saying it would be “fun” to separate him in the boxing ring.

“Just as he is. His boxing isn’t exactly crisp. His footwork is very unorthodox. I think I could catch up with him,” Volkanovsky said.

“I know he’s thinking about retirement. I have a lot of respect for him because he’s a respectful guy, but I think it would be fun.”

When asked who else he would like to “have fun” with in the square circle, Volkanovski was quick to mention YouTuber Jake Paul.

Paul went out of his way to score a big fight with UFC boss White Conor McGregor stopping his persistent appeals and relentless pursuit of the Irishman on social media.

The 2-0 boxer responded to White by saying “society is not doing well” and said the only bigger fight would be if Khabib Nurmagomedov comes out of retirement.

The UFC president, however, has said he wants to let Amanda Nunes fight the YouTuber rather than McGregor, with the reigning bantamweight and featherweight champion expressing interest.

Although there is a huge weight difference, the 168cm Volkanovski – who fights at UFC featherweight (65kg) – believes the height difference between him and the 185cm Paul – who fights at cruiser weight (91 kg) – could be a good selling point.

“You have Jake Paul calling all the fighters in the UFC. I’d be happy to be the smallest guy to face someone like that. It would be pretty embarrassing for him,” Volkanovski said.

“If he really wants a UFC fighter and he wants to face a champion, let him go down a few weight divisions and I’ll step up and show him that’s a whole other area.”

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