Volkanovski claims UFC featherweight crown

CROWNED: New UFC featherweight champion of the world Alexander Volkanovski. Picture: Getty Images
CROWNED: New UFC featherweight champion of the world Alexander Volkanovski. Picture: Getty Images

He said he was and Alexander Volkanovski is unquestionably 'The Great'. The only question is how great?

It's not just the fact he's the newly minted UFC featherweight champion after dismantling long-reigning champion Max Holloway over five rounds on Sunday; it's where it puts him in the history of the division.

The dethroned Hawaiian is considered the best featherweight of all time. It's with good reason given his wins (16) and finishes (10) are records, but the former concreter from Shellharbout just isn't like those others - perhaps not like any other.

The man Holloway usurped, Jose Aldo, was Volkanovski's previous victim. The fact he took out both en route to the gold truly puts the "undisputed" in his title.

The 31-year-old former Warilla Gorilla landed the most leg kicks in featherweight history by the end of four rounds, out-striking a man who's landed the most signifiant strikes in UFC history in all five rounds.

It was reflected on one of the judge's scorecards, while it was enough to claim three of the five on the other cards in one the greatest showings in Australia's fighting history.

He was, as always, respectful in the aftermath, but Volkanovski didn't need to be told where he now sits.

"He's one of the GOATS, I've taken out two of the GOATS back to back, that puts me right up there," Volkanovski said.

"We've had great champions in this division. Aldo was a great respectful champion, Max was a great respectful champion, I promise to be a great champion to.

"They were great champions, but now I'm going to be a great champion and I'm gong to take over for a long time. I'm telling ya, I'm going to stay champion for a long time."

It was Volkanovski's 18th straight victory in the cage and Holloway's first defeat at featherweight since suffering consecutive losses in 2013.

Many tipped the taller, and noted volume striker, Holloway to overwhelm the shorter challenger, but Volkanovski's brutal leg kicks proved the telling move of the fight, slowing the champion down over the 25-minute distance.

This story Volkanovski claims UFC featherweight crown first appeared on Illawarra Mercury.