Alexander Volkanovski has finally come clean about his rematch with Max Holloway at UFC 251 in July 2020.
Despite its competitive nature, the sequel bout for Volkanovski and Holloway was a widely controversial one. Two strong opening rounds for the Hawaiian were followed by the most competitive exchanges taking place in the final three. Ultimately, the Australian champion retained his title via split decision (watch highlights) in what was his first successful title defense.
Now having earned defense No. 4 this past weekend (July 2, 2022) at UFC 276, Volkanovski has revealed the story surrounding why he performed the way he did, highlighting an early morning visit from United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA) as the primary culprit.
“It was four hours before I had to get up so it was halfway through my sleep,” Volkanovski said in his UFC 276 post-fight press conference. “I literally got there, they woke us all up and said that they were gonna test me and obviously my coaches and management were like, ‘What do you mean? What the hell?’ Went there and then obviously, I woke up during the night to piss, I couldn’t fill it up. Had to water load. The story goes on. I was skullin’ water so I could hurry up and piss so I could go to bed.
“Couldn’t get to sleep, so I took melatonin tablets,” he continued. “Woke up still in a sleep cycle. Now that you watch that fight, it probably makes a bit of sense. When I started turning up, now I can say it. It’s not an excuse because look what I did tonight. I waited until now to tell you the full story.”
At UFC 276, Volkanovski left no doubt in the trilogy with Holloway. Battering the former champion from bell to bell throughout their third set of five rounds earning a unanimous decision win (watch highlights). It was arguably “The Great’s” best showing yet in a string of equally impressive displays.
“But I mean, that’s why I’m so confident. Look what I did,” Volkanovski said. “I forced everything [in the second fight]. If you watch, I had no reactions. My reaction time was way off. I had no reaction, no pace, everything was forced. I had to force everything. I had to use my head to just force things to happen. But that’s the type of guy I am. Even when things are all against me, I still stood my ground and I still forced and made it happen. That’s the type of champion I am.
“Look, I’m sort of glad that happened because it made me even stronger,” he concluded.
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