Ilia Topuria Aims to Dominate Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298, Eyes Conor McGregor as Next Opponent

Ilia Topuria is set to challenge Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title at UFC 298, and is confident of a first-round knockout, with plans to fight Conor McGregor next and hopes for a UFC event in Spain in 2024.

Ilia Topuria has his eyes set on big things for 2024. Later this month, he’s taking on Alexander Volkanovski for the featherweight title. This is the main event of UFC 298, and it’s got everyone buzzing.

Oddsmakers are calling it a close match. But Topuria? He’s pretty sure it won’t be that tight.

“I’m gonna knock him out in the first round. Watch me,” Topuria said on The MMA Hour. He’s had enough of Volkanovski’s talk about ‘levels’ and ‘this and that’. “Sure, there are levels. And then there’s me. I’ll show you where the levels are. I’m gonna dominate him. Make him look like a punching bag. Just wait and see. I’ll be dancing on Feb. 17.”

Volkanovski is widely considered one of the greatest fighters of all time. But 2023 wasn’t his best year. He tried to move up to lightweight twice for double-champ status and lost both times to Islam Makhachev. The second time was a head-kick knockout in October.

In between those two fights, Volkanovski did have a sensational title defense over Yair Rodriguez in July. But Topuria thinks the Makhachev fights exposed an unfortunate truth about the 35-year-old champion.

“You’re talking to the world’s best fighter,” Topuria said. “I’m the best. He’s one of the best. He was a great champion, pound-for-pound No. 1. One of the greatest in the featherweight division. He’ll always be remembered like that. But I’m the one who’s gonna give him the bad news on Feb. 17: He’s old. It’s time to move on. It’s time for the new generation. He’s old. He’s already lost. He needs to retire. He had his moments, and now it’s time to move on. I represent the new generation. I represent the evolution of mixed martial arts.”

With a 14-0 career record and 12 finishes, Topuria has every reason to be confident. After he takes down Volkanovski and claims his first UFC title, he’s got big plans for his next fight.

“The way I’m gonna beat him, they won’t even ask me about a rematch,” Topuria said.

He’s got his sights set on Conor McGregor. “That’s the fight I’m looking for. He’s got a great fight with Mike Chandler. If he doesn’t get his ass whooped, he’ll be a pleasure to share the octagon with me. Maybe in UFC Spain. We’re both from Europe, and he can go home and tell his wife, ‘Baby, get out the red panties. Topuria kept us rich.'”

McGregor is supposed to face Michael Chandler sometime in 2024. But that fight’s been in the works for over a year and still hasn’t happened. Plus, it’s unclear if the UFC would even be interested given the deep bench of title challengers at 145 pounds.

But Topuria isn’t interested in Holloway or the others.

“How? I’m gonna beat the guy who whooped his ass three times?” Topuria said when asked about Holloway. “It doesn’t make any sense. Max, Yair, Brian Ortega, all of them, they can go and retire. I’m never gonna give them the chance to fight for the title.”

“I don’t know, to be honest,” Topuria continued when asked who he would defend against. “The UFC knows that even better than me and I don’t think they’re going to even offer Max or the names I told you. We’ll see. I’m just completely focused on my upcoming fight and we’ll see what the future holds for me.”

If it’s not McGregor next and does end up being one of the other featherweight contenders, or even a rematch with Volkanovski, Topuria is still dreaming big. He’s adamant that the UFC will head to his home country this year, and he believes a show in Santiago Bernabéu Stadium, the home of Real Madrid, is even possible.

“Of course. It’s going to happen in 2024,” Topuria said. “I don’t know when. At the end of the year, maybe. I hope it’s going to happen in Madrid at the [Real Madrid stadium]. The stadium is ready to make events. You can close the roof, you can [cover the grass]. They made it especially for events, so it would be one of the biggest ticket sales in UFC history.”

“This is what [UFC] told me, but we’re considering all options. We’ll see. But in Spain, of course it’s going to happen. UFC Spain, that’s for sure.”


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -