WRITTEN BYTOM NAGHTEN
Alex Volkanovski wants to expose opponent Brian Ortega’s unprofessionalism when he enters the cage at UFC 266 this Sunday (Saturday in the US) in Las Vegas.
The featherweight champion hasn’t fought since last July, but he has been preparing for Ortega for much of that time.
Originally scheduled to defend his belt against Ortega at UFC 260 in March, Volkanovksi contracted COVID-19, seeing that the fight was postponed.
The pair then pitted against each other as trainers on the final season of The Ultimate Fighter, getting to know each other even more while filming the show.
After all that, Volkanovski says he doesn’t have much time for the 30-year-old and is eager to fight him.
“I can’t wait to get my hands on him. I was never in this position. He had never had to spend so much time with an opponent. This is different, ”Volkanovski said in Las Vegas.
“And with the long free time, I’m looking forward to going back and having a little fun there. And on top of that, I can punch him in the face. “
Volkanovksi said Ortega and his team hadn’t made a big impression on him during their time together.
“He is not professional, he has a lot of men who do surround him, he is constantly late. I guarantee that he is very late for his interviews and all that,” Volkanovski told reporters.
“That annoys me. I am a professional and I dedicate myself to that. He wants this belt, you can’t be unprofessional, half cheating on him.
“I’ve seen a video of the coaches of him asking him, ‘Are you ready?’
“My coach is going to say, ‘Damn, let’s go.’ That’s the difference between us.
“Some of the things that he says when he’s under the bomb, maybe because he’s not good at confrontation and he will just say some statements from real idiots.
“Just little things like that, I think he stands up and acts like he’s calm. I see through the shit. “
The fight will be the 32-year-old Illawarra-product’s second title defense, having defeated Max Holloway to win the belt before beating the Hawaiian again by split decision in the rematch.
For Ortega, he has only fought once since Holloway ended him in their 2018 title fight, an impressive unanimous decision victory over Korean Zombie last October.
Volkanovski is confident that he can surpass Ortega’s skill set, but admits that the threat of a knockout or submission from Hail Mary is present.
“That’s all I think he has with me,” Volkanovski said.
“Everyone has a chance to hit, and this is MMA, even submission.
“Obviously, he has new challenges for me, there are still great threats, but anyone who knows me knows that I am always prepared.
“He looked good in his last performance and I’ll give him credit for that. He definitely evolved, but he had Zombie in front of him just letting him do his thing.
“You’re fighting my fight, I’m going to lead the dance. He will have game plans and instructions for this fight, but he will soon realize that he just has to try to keep up, that’s how it is.”