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Ilia Topuria makes bold Alexander Volkanovski claim after dominating Josh Emmett

The Georgian featherweight eased past Emmett on Saturday and is now eyeing a shot at the gold

Alex Pattle
Combat Sports Correspondent
Tuesday 27 June 2023 11:28 BST
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Ilia Topuria has claimed he can beat Alexander Volkanovski ‘wherever we go’, as he eyes a shot at the UFC featherweight champion.

Topuria dominated Josh Emmett in a Fight Night main event on Saturday, outpointing the American veteran before expressing his desire to fight for the title next.

And the German-born Georgian, who fights out of Spain, reiterated that demand on Monday, while speaking on The MMA Hour.

When asked if he would accept a fight with Volkanovski on the Australian’s home turf, the 26-year-old said: “No f****** problem. If I think I’m the best in the world, I can beat him in Australia, in Las Vegas, in Miami, in Spain – wherever we go, I beat him. Location is no problem.

“Right now, I’m really focused on getting that championship belt. I want to get that title fight, which I know that I deserve. But if they come out with some offer to go to Spain and make a fight in Spain with [former champion] Max Holloway maybe... because if they told me to go to Spain to fight someone unknown, I’m not going to [accept] that fight, because I want to go for that belt.

“But if they come out and they told me, ‘We want to take the UFC to Spain and you’re going to fight with Max Holloway,’ I will say, ‘Hell yes, let’s go, let’s do it.’ I want to fight in front of my people.”

Volkanovski is due to defend his title against interim champion Yair Rodriguez in July, with the winner of that fight potentially next for Topuria, although Holloway stayed in the mix at featherweight by outpointing Arnold Allen in April. The Hawaiian also has a fight scheduled – a clash with the “Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung in September.

“Like I said, one of the best skills I have is patience,” Topuria added. “I can wait. I’m young, I’m 26 years old, I enjoy life. I’m happy with everything I have, so I can wait. I didn’t rush for anything. No problem.

“It doesn’t matter for me. I have the goal, which is to become the world champion, and if I have to wait, I’ll wait my whole life. Why am I not going to wait like six more months or something like that? I’m going to wait.”

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