Ilia Topuria open to rematch with 'good person' Alexander Volkanovski after UFC 298

  • Ilia Topuria's heart strings are being pulled by Alexander Volkanovski
  • He says he likes Alex, so he's open to a rematch
  • Topuria won the title at UFC 298.
Feb 17, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Ilia Topuria celebrates his championship victory against
Feb 17, 2024; Anaheim, California, USA; Ilia Topuria celebrates his championship victory against / Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Ilia Topuria called his shot and delivered at UFC 298.

Now the UFC featherweight champion after knocking out Alexander Volkanovski on Feb. 17 to remain undefeated at 15-0, Topuria is already looking ahead to establishing his reign as a potentially dominant champion. Topuria declared it is now "show time" in his post-fight interview to UFC executives Dana White and Hunter Campbell.

Heading into the fight, Topuria had all of his attention and efforts on a fight with Conor McGregor after dethroning Volkanovski. However, though he did mention the former champion's name to Joe Rogan in the octagon, Topuria entertained more realistic options backstage after the event. Of them, the new champion mentioned his perspective on a potential rematch with Volkanovski.

"To be honest, at this point, I'm like: 'Okay, I'm gonna give him the rematch because he's a good person," Topuria said. "But at the same time, it's time to move on. It's time to clean up the division. It's time for the new generation [and] to have new challengers, new faces. I will be looking for that, but my job is to fight. Whoever they tell me I have to fight next, I will be there."

Ilia Topuria open to rematch with Alexander Volkanovski but will fight whoever he's told to next

In Volkanovski's post-fight octagon interview, the now-former champion told Rogan he would pursue a rematch with Topuria in Spain. Since the UFC introduced a featherweight division in 2011, each of its champions has either been given and immediate rematch or a vacant title fight in their next outing with the exception of McGregor, who vacated the belt to pursue a rivalry with Nate Diaz and double champ status.

Of the "new challengers" that Topuria mentioned, no. 5 ranked Movsar Evloev — who is also undefeated at 18-0 — tweeted his eagerness to face the new champion just minutes after the conclusion of UFC 298.

However, Topuria was less interested in Evloev, saying the Dagestani "needs to finish someone" before fighting for the belt.

"Look, Movsar is a good fight for me," Topuria said. "I would love to fight him. But the guy has eight fights in the UFC [and] eight decisions, zero submissions, zero knockouts. From eight decisions, four [were] split decisions. Man, come on. He needs to finish someone."

Topuria and Evloev were initially booked to fight at UFC 270 before the latter withdrew due to a positive COVID-19 test.

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