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UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski has spoken out about his Covid-19 diagnosis which forced the cancelation of his scheduled bout last month against top featherweight contender Brian Ortega.

The Australian 145-pounds titleholder has been pitch perfect in the UFC thus far, winning each of his nine fights inside the Octagon to announce himself as the world’s standout featherweight — but even a man in peak physical condition such as Volkanovski was hit for six by the impact of his diagnosis, one which ultimately led to a hospital stint.

“I started feeling it in the lungs a little bit, and I started feeling uncomfortable,” Volkanovski said in a video shared on social media of his battle with the potentially deadly virus.

“I started coughing up phlegm, and it was coming up pinky bloody with a bit of blood in there, and I was lucky I had (Jordan Sullivan) with The Fight Dietitian and he knows a bit, so I was like, ‘What’s this?’ and he’s like, ‘That’s usually the lungs and things like that.’ That’s when I thought maybe we should start looking into this. I was having bad fevers and headaches, but that’s sort of common. So I started talking with him about it, and that’s when I was thinking maybe we need a check up.”

After seeking treatment, Volkanovski was informed that he was suffering from pneumonia related to a Covid infection and that if his oxygen saturation dropped below 93 percent he would require immediate hospitalisation — which quickly led to a three-day stay in a medical facility.

“That’s why I wanted to do this video,” he continued. “Again, everyone is going to have their thoughts, but a lot of people were asking me how it was like getting symptoms, and now you guys aware. The symptoms got pretty wild. We got the normal symptoms, and they can lead to other things. So I got the normal symptoms that led me to pneumonia and other problems. It got pretty serious.

“I think if I was unhealthy, maybe I would’ve got other problems, and you can see how people pass away and things like that. This is quite serious. I’ve always taken it seriously, but know I understand it’s very unpredictable and very, very contagious because, again, it’s something that got in and got a few members of the team, so it was a crazy experience, but we’re all good. I’m no longer contagious, so I can go out and about, which is good. And yeah, so now we just want to get home.”

Thankfully, Volkanovski has since fully recovered and was recently announced as a coach opposite Ortega on an upcoming season of The Ultimate Fighter.