Daniel Cormier Points Out Big Question For Ilia Topuria & His Team Ahead Of Alexander Volkanovski Title Fight At UFC 298
UFC CEO Dana White recently revealed the pay-per-view headliners for the first quarter of 2023, and they include a featherweight championship showdown between Alexander Volkanovski and Ilia Topuria.
The pair are slated to do battle in the main event of UFC 298 next February, marking a four-month turnaround for the reigning titleholder following his second failed bid at two-division glory last month in Abu Dhabi.
At UFC 294, Volkanovski shared the cage with Islam Makhachev for the second time this year. The opportunity came on short notice after Charles Oliveira withdrew through injury less than two weeks out. The 145-pound kingpin’s risk ultimately didn’t pay off, with the Dagestani champ stopping him with a head kick inside the very first round.
On the back of his second loss to Makhachev and first knockout defeat inside the Octagon, Volkanovski will return to the weight class he’s ruled over since late 2019 and recorded five successful title defenses in. In his way of a rebound performance will be Topuria, an undefeated contender who steamrolled through Bryce Mitchell and Josh Emmett to earn his first shot at title glory.
To date, “El Matador” has experienced little adversity inside the cage. With many expecting that to change against an all-time great in Volkanovski, one former champion is curious to see how the challenger copes.
Cormier: Topuria Likely To Be Tested Like Never Before Against Volkanovski
During a recent episode of ESPN MMA’s DC & RC show, ex-light heavyweight and heavyweight UFC titleholder Daniel Cormier reacted to confirmation of Volkanovski and Topuria’s upcoming championship joust.
Against what will undoubtedly mark his toughest test to date in MMA, Cormier expects Topuria and his team to enter uncharted territory against Volkanovski. Their response to that, “DC” believes, will be crucial.
“When I was undefeated, fighting (Jon) Jones, I didn’t know that I wasn’t supposed to be able to compete with him. You have a bit of a Superman view of yourself,” Cormier said. “When it starts to turn, you’re either gonna grow from it and be better, or you’re gonna falter… in that moment.
“With Ilia Topuria, we’re gonna see a lot of the same things. He’s a guy that has coaches that have been there. What they have not seen, though, is him get beat. They have not seen him really struggle,” Cormier continued. “How do those coaches respond? Because for me, I was so dominant heading into the Jones fight that when it started to turn, we all got flustered… Then when I fought ‘Rumble’ and he dropped me… It was calm. We had learned… How does Topuria, if he does start to deal with troubles, how does he adjust and how does his team adjust to make sure he stays locked in?”
While he’s remained undefeated in the sport through six UFC fights and been widely touted as the man capable of dethroning Volkanovski at 145 pounds, Topuria’s career hasn’t been entirely without adversity.
The Georgian-Spaniard was notably dropped by a brutal head kick landed by Jai Herbert in their lightweight clash last March at the UFC Fight Night event in London, England.
Having recovered from that knockdown and secured a brutal finish himself moments later, Topuria will be looking to show similar comeback ability should he find himself in deep waters against Volkanovski next February at UFC 298.
Volkanovski vs Topuria in February pic.twitter.com/v5JlRw7YtO
— UFC (@ufc) November 6, 2023
- Read Also: Ilia Topuria’s UFC 298 Promo Video Leaks Possible Location Of The Event
Please provide transcription credit with a link to this article if you use any of these quotes.