This past Saturday in the co-main event of UFC 276, the featherweight title was on the line. Undisputed king Alexander Volkanovski (25-1) was defending his title against Max Holloway (23-7) in the conclusion of their trilogy.
These two men first fought at UFC 245 in December of 2019. Holloway was a huge favorite as the defending champion, but Volkanovski had a tremendous performance and won the title.
They immediately rematched at UFC 251 on Fight Island. This time, many believed that Holloway won the fight, however, it was razor close. The judges were split, but ultimately, Volkanovski got his hand raised again.
After back-to-back wins, Holloway got his third shot at the UFC champion. However, this time, Volkanovski aimed to leave no doubt. That’s exactly what he did at UFC 276 in a tremendous performance.
From the opening bell, Volkanovski’s blistering speed was a problem for Holloway. He was brutalizing Holloway with vicious shots all night long and the former champion never built momentum. It was a flawless performance and a clean 50-45 sweep for Alexander The Great.
What’s next after UFC 276?
Let’s be completely honest, there are not many other big challenges in the UFC’s featherweight division for Volkanovski. He’s brutalized The Korean Zombie and Brian Ortega. He’s defeated Max Holloway three times. Volkanovski also has wins over Chad Mendes and Jose Aldo.
He’s the greatest featherweight in UFC history and he’s only getting better. With this latest win, what’s next for the champion. Well, there are a few options for Volkanovski and one depends on the title situation at 155.
Volkanovski wants to move up and try to become a double-champ. However, the title picture in the lightweight division is cloudy. Charles Oliveira is the champion without a belt after he was stripped of his title due to a weigh-in stickler in Arizona.
There seems to be indications that Oliveira and Islam Makhachev will fight for the UFC lightweight title next. However, Oliveira has openly said how he wants to fight Conor McGregor next. Given how fluid and unsure the lightweight division is now, I’ll say Volkanovski doesn’t move up next.
With that, there are two fights for him at 145. One on hand, he has top contender Josh Emmett. Emmett was in attendance at UFC 276 and is the logical next contender for the belt. However, there could be one guy that could jump the line.
That contender is Henry Cejudo. Former Olympic Champion and two division UFC champion Henry Cejudo has been vocal about wanting to challenge Volkanovski. He wants to be the first man to hold a belt in three UFC weight classes.
After re-entering the USADA pool, Cejudo will be eligible to compete at the end of the year. Once he’s clear, he might get that chance if that’s what Volkanovski wants.