Q&A: Alexander Volkanovski Talks Latest Successful Title Defense at UFC 273

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There are few hard, fast rules surrounding mixed martial arts. It’s one of the sport’s selling points. Notwithstanding a handful of stipulations—no eye-gouging; no hair-pulling; no kicking a downed opponent; no fish-hooking an open wound—it’s pretty much anything goes. Still, there are a few rules of thumb. Among them: if you’re asking your opponent, midfight, whether they really want to continue, odds are good you’re on your way to victory.

So it went for Alexander Volkanovski last Saturday night in Jacksonville. Headlining UFC 273, the 33-year-old Australian featherweight was administering such a brutal beatdown that he asked his opponent, South Korea’s Jung Chan-sung (a/k/a The Korean Zombie), if he wished to continue on. The Zombie did. But the referee, Herb Dean, thought otherwise, mercifully prying Volkanovski off his prey and waving off the fight early in the fourth round.

With that, Volkanovski didn’t just defend his featherweight belt for a third time. He didn’t just emerge from yet another fight unscathed, extending his win streak to 21 fights encompassing nine years. Volkanovski rattles the UFC’s balance of power. Having cleaned out his division, he is likely to move up to 155 lbs. For a guy who once weighed 214 lbs. as a semi-professional Aussie rugby player, the added heft shouldn’t be an issue.

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