After UFC 290, Alexander Volkanovski Should Be The P4P King
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)
— 10 July 2023

After UFC 290, Alexander Volkanovski Should Be The P4P King

— 10 July 2023
Garry Lu
Garry Lu

What Alexander Volkanovski achieved against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 was nothing short of a masterclass in Octagon dominance.

After (narrowly) failing to obtain the lightweight strap from Islam Makhachev at UFC 284, this past weekend, the future Hall of Famer returned to the featherweight division for his fifth title defence against interim champion Yair Rodriguez to headline International Fight Week’s pay-per-view card.

Considering his last few bouts against Brian Ortega, the Korean Zombie (real name: Chan-sung Jung), as well as Max Holloway to close out the trilogy in definitive fashion, nobody in their right mind had any serious doubts about Volk’s incredibly well-rounded MMA toolbox.

RELATED: “Anytime, Anywhere, Any Weight” — Alexander Volkanovski Challenges Conor McGregor

Still, there were some who asserted that Rodriguez would pose an interesting threat to the betting favourite, given his wildly unconventional striking style.

All those would-be concerns immediately went out of the window after the cage door was closed. In an increasingly prevalent trend within his featherweight run, over the course of three rounds, Volk proved his Mexican rival was nowhere near the enigma everyone had believed, dishing out a beatdown of a lifetime while taking virtually zero serious damage; the man ate what few head kicks, hooks, and elbows Rodriguez landed on him like it was a medium-rare steak.

From footwork to counterpunching to wrestling, the homegrown hero clearly demonstrated he was simply superior in every possible sense.

During the late stage of Round 3, Alexander Volkanovski stunned Yair Rodriguez on his feet before backing him up against the fence and dumping him to the canvas with a textbook double leg takedown to administer some savage ground ‘n’ pound. Referee Herb Dean stepped into to officially call it a TKO (punches) at precisely 4 minutes and 19 seconds. Title: unified. Volk: GOATed.

The calibre of mixed martial arts Volkanovski has showcased against elite competition within the featherweight division is at a level we haven’t witnessed since recent UFC Hall of Fame inductee Jose Aldo‘s glory days.

In conjunction with how active the Wollongong native has been since ascending to the featherweight throne back in 2019, there’s no question the #1 spot within the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings should rightfully be his. And yet, it currently remains occupied by the oft-controversial heavyweight champion Jon Jones, who was fast-tracked for a shot at the belt against Ciryl Gane after years away from competition (see: Dana White Privilege).

RELATED: We Had Lunch (And A Yarn) With Alexander Volkanovski

After UFC 290, Alexander Volkanovski Should Be The P4P King
(Photo by Jeff Bottari/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images)

More egregious still is the fact that Alexander Volkanovski wasn’t even in contention for the ESPY UFC Fighter of the Year (2023) award.

In a close race between the titleholders Leon Edwards (welterweight), Islam Makhachev (lightweight), the now-retired Amanda Nunes (bantamweight & featherweight), and the aforementioned Jones (heavyweight), the latter won. Probably due in large part to the ongoing mythology surrounding his accomplishments rather than up-to-date metrics. After all… Amanda Nunes hung up the gloves as the a two-division champ. So what gives?

At this point in his career, he isn’t exactly being look down upon. But perhaps the history books will eventually give Volk the credit he deserves.

Side note: spare a thought for Australia’s other son, Robert Whittaker, whose comeback journey towards the middleweight throne was unceremoniously cut short by South African banger Dricus du Plessis.

Side note II: Brandon Moreno has an uncanny talent for winning belts and losing them immediately after.

Check out how everyone from Alexander Volkanovski to Brandon Moreno currently ranks in the pound-for-pound rankings after UFC 290.

UFC Pound-For-Pound Rankings

  1. Jon Jones
  2. Alexander Volkanovski
  3. Islam Makhachev
  4. Leon Edwards
  5. Israel Adesanya
  6. Aljamain Sterling
  7. Charles Oliveira
  8. Kamaru Usman
  9. Brandon Moreno
  10. Alex Pereira
  11. Jiri Prochazka (-7)
  12. Max Holloway
  13. Dustin Poirier
  14. Jamahal Hill
  15. Robert Whittaker

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Garry Lu
After stretching his legs with companies such as The Motley Fool and the odd marketing agency, Garry joined Boss Hunting in 2019 as a fully-fledged Content Specialist. In 2021, he was promoted to News Editor. Garry proudly retains a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, black bruises from Muay Thai, as well as a black belt in all things pop culture. Drop him a line at [email protected]