Even Alexander Volkanovski understands there are exceptions to the rules whenever Conor McGregor is involved.
Days ahead of his own opportunity to earn two-division champion status just like the Irish superstar accomplished back in 2016, Volkanovski commented on the news that McGregor is returning to coach the next season of The Ultimate Fighter opposite Michael Chandler. When the show finishes airing, McGregor will then clash with Chandler in his first fight back in more than two years after suffering a devastating broken leg in his previous outing.
Despite McGregor boasting just a 1-3 record in his past four fights — including back-to-back losses to Dustin Poirier — Volkanovski knows that drawing power and popularity will almost always warrant consideration when it comes to title contention in the UFC.
” It’s always great to see Conor returning to the sport,” Volkanovski stated at UFC 284 Media Day. He’s a great fighter. That will be a fun fight as well. I think it’s clever for both of them. It’s clever for Conor, he’s strong and can fight. They’re also powerful men, so it’s winnable. It’s going to be entertaining.
“That just puts Conor right back in the conversation for the belt and all that type of stuff. People who say that he doesn’t deserve it or will not do so are crazy. Conor McGregor is the one, so if he beats Chandler you can be sure that his name will be talked about. You know people are going to be talking about him.”
It is difficult to disagree with Volkanovski’s logic, given McGregor’s inability to remain relevant in title conversations regardless of recent experience.
McGregor has yet to actually make any statement about coaching the upcoming season of the reality show or give his thoughts on facing someone like Chandler, who comes into the contest with four post-fight bonuses in five UFC appearances.
There are even rumors that McGregor’s return will take place at welterweight, but even that won’t dissuade Volkanovski from predicting that “The Notorious” could possibly earn a lightweight title shot with a win.
“At the end of the day, it is Conor McGregor,” Volkanovski said. When you have these numbers, you need to keep in mind that he takes on both the good and the bad fighters. He’s never afraid of taking on more dangerous fighters.
” It’s in 170, but it is not the lightweight division. It would be impossible for anyone to do it. It’s pretty obvious how it goes down. I’m not really saying anything that anyone should be surprised about.”
If Volkanovski can get through Islam Makhachev on Saturday and become a two-division UFC champion, he might end up being the beneficiary of a future showdown with McGregor.
Volkanovski obviously is open to that option, but none of it will even be possible if he doesn’t become lightweight champion first.
“It’s interesting,” Volkanovski said. It’s something I can look at, as I intend to take the lightweight belt. I also want to see what happens in this division. There’s a lot of potential matchups after this one, but obviously first I’ve got to worry about what’s in front of me.”