Morning Report: Ilia Topuria says ‘it’s time to move on’ from MMA for ‘old’ Alexander Volkanovski

Ilia Topuria is ready to make history at UFC 298.

Dreams of headlining a UFC event in Spain have already been one of Topuria’s most-desired goals as he’s climbed the featherweight ladder. Wrap a UFC title around the 26-year-old’s waist and surely that dream will come true sooner rather than later.

The undefeated 14-0 Topuria has looked as good as any top contender on Earth as 2024 gets off the ground running. “El Matador’s” biggest fight yet comes in his upcoming bout when he’ll challenge for UFC gold against the reigning champion Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 298 in Los Angeles, Calif. next month. It’s a matchup that has lit another fire under “The Great” Australian titleholder and one he intends on shining in like his last title defense against Yair Rodriguez in July 2023.

“I’ve got Brad Riddell over who’s obviously a great training partner in general but stylistically he’s a very good boxer himself,” Volkanovski said of his training camp on his YouTube channel (h/t MMA Mania). “I think he can simulate Ilia. I think, to be honest, he can give me a lot more problems than what Ilia will. That’s not knocking Ilia, that’s just showing how good Brad is. Brad’s had hundreds of kickboxing matches and had a heap of boxing matches, so a strong powerful stocky dude as well.

“I’m taking this fight serious. I’m taking Ilia serious. He thinks he’s the man, let’s see if he is. I’m ready for the best version that turns up February 17. Let’s see what we have in store. I’m going to be ready either way. I see he’s confident. He’s a confident cocky young dude. Let’s see if he’s gonna bring it because I’m gonna. Can’t wait to show him levels.”

If anyone will be able to solve the thus-far unsolvable puzzle that is Topuria, it’s the all-time great Volkanovski. However, verbal exchanges between the top 145 pounders have escalated since the fight was made official and Topuria isn’t taking too kindly to his counterpart’s confidence.

Having shown off his impressive finishing abilities every step of the way to his first UFC title tilt, Topuria sees another coming after Volkanovski’s recent first-round knockout pitfall against the lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in October.

“If you think someone can imitate me, that means that your last fight has left you with lasting effects!” Topuria tweeted in response. “I will knock you out in the first round. You’re old, it’s time to retire. It is time to move on and make way for the new era of Topuria.”

Volkanovski, 35, is starting to get on the older side of an MMA career, especially as a lighter division fighter and a champion, no less. Despite that, he’s shown no signs of slowing down as he’s still a perfect 16-0 as a featherweight (26-3 overall). The Makhachev rematch in his last time out also came on roughly 10 days’ notice, which provided for a debate on whether or not taking it was even a good idea.

In terms of resume, Topuria is still building his legacy with his most recent unanimous decision win over Josh Emmett as arguably his biggest and best of the 14 overall. Volkanovski, on the other hand, has defeated every UFC featherweight champion in promotional history aside from — himself, of course — and Conor McGregor, as well as defeated four out of all eight title challengers to never win gold.

“I’ve seen a lot in my game, I think I’m in my prime,” Volkanovski said. “Gonna show this young man that there are levels and I am king of this division and he ain’t taking nothing from me. I’m coming for that 0.”

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Bold. Belal Muhammad predicts he finishes Leon Edwards in their rematch: ‘It’s going to be the worst night of his life

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Matchmaking. Josh Emmett loves the idea of facing Max Holloway next: ‘That’s a sure shot to the title

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Versatility. UFC’s Allan Nascimento explains how working as cornermen for Chute Boxe teammates helps own fighting career

On To the Next One.

In the booth.

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O’Malley’s rise.

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Free fights.

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UFC 300 Camp.

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Cejudo’s Road to Redemption.

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The Misadventures of Usman and Gaethje.

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Almighty Cooking Blighty.

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No ragret.

Fasting or starving?



Double juice.


Oh, boy…

Get it, Maynard.


Josh Quinlan (6-1) vs. Danny Barlow (7-0); UFC 298, Feb. 17

Manuel Torres (14-2) vs. Chris Duncan (11-1); UFC Mexico, Feb. 24

Raul Rosas Jr. (8-1) vs. Ricky Turcios (12-3); UFC Mexico. Feb. 24

Joel Alvarez (20-3) vs. Ľudovít Klein (20-4-1); UFC Saudi Arabia, March 2

Dustin Poirier (29-8, 1 NC) vs. Benoit Saint Denis (13-1, 1 NC); UFC 299, March 9

Steven Nguyen (9-1) vs. Jarno Errens (13-5-1); UFC Vegas 88, March 23

Davey Grant (13-7) vs. Cody Gibson (19-9); UFC Vegas 88, March 23

Ricardo Ramos (16-5) vs. Julian Erosa (28-11); UFC Vegas 88, March 23

Chris Weidman (15-7) vs. Bruno Silva (23-10); UFC Atlantic City, March 30

Connor Matthews (7-1) vs. Dennis Buzukja (11-4); UFC Atlantic City, March 30

Lukasz Brzeski (8-4-1) vs. Valter Walker (11-0); UFC Vegas 89, April 6

Charles Oliveira (34-9, 1 NC) vs. Arman Tsarukyan (21-3); UFC 300, April 13

Oh, how the first quarter of 2024 has heated up exponentially over night. I cannot wait for this upcoming stretch of events to get the ball rolling. Who would have thought the UFC would do the right thing with matchups like those two at lightweight? Wild times, friends. Wild times.

Thanks for reading!

Last Week’s Results:

Friday: 56% of 566 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Do you agree with Henry Cejudo?

Thursday: 83% of 407 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Was Francis Ngannou the biggest winner of 2023?

Wednesday: 80% of 627 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will Khamzat Chimaev fight again before getting a title shot?

Tuesday: 54% of 557 total votes answered “No” when asked, “Can Paddy Pimblett beat anyone in the UFC’s lightweight top 15?

Monday: 44% of 326 total votes answered “Yes” when asked, “Will 2024 be a better year for combat sports than 2023?

Today’s exit poll:


Which big upcoming lightweight contender bout are you looking forward to more?

  • 0%

    Dustin Poirier vs. Benoit Saint Denis

    (0 votes)

  • 0%

    Charles Oliveira vs. Arman Tsarukyan

    (0 votes)

0 votes total Vote Now

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