If anything goes awry ahead of this weekend’s UFC 280 headliner between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev, featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski will be on hand to save the day.
It has been confirmed the 25-1 Volkanovski will be in Abu Dhabi this weekend where he will make weight at 155-pounds to act as a potential stand-in for the main event fight for the vacant UFC lightweight title should either Oliveira or Makhachev be deemed unable to compete. Oliveira marginally missed weight for his last fight, a first-round submission win against Justin Gaethje earlier this year, and was stripped of the 155-pound world title as a result.
Speaking on his YouTube channel, the Australian said: “Yeah, we’re locked in as a backup fighter. You know, I’ve been calling for it, I said I want it. Just had to make sure the hand was all good.
“So we are good, we’re locked in. We’ve got the clearance to fight. The UFC’s on board, everyone’s on board, so I’ll be at UFC 280 to make weight. And yeah, looking forward to it. Let’s see what happens. If someone doesn’t make it, I’m here to save the day. If not? At least I’m locked in as the next guy to fight for that lightweight title, and that’s that.”
It will remain to be seen if Volkanovski is required to compete this weekend, thought the UFC has been forced into some dramatic late changes to an advertised card in recent weeks when Khamzat Chimaev dramatically missed weight on the eve of a bout with Nate Diaz and prompted the UFC to scramble into some last minute changes in a bid to save the card.
His comments also suggest that Volkanovski has been handed some sort of assurance for the UFC that whatever happens he will be awarded a title shot at 155-pounds once the dust clears after this weekend.
Volkanovski has been defeated just once in his MMA career to date in a fight which took place back in 2013 and is a perfect 12-0 in the UFC thus far after making his debut with the organisation back in 2016. He last fought in July where he scored his third victory against Max Holloway.