Conor McGregor praised Israel Adesanya for choosing to wait until his next bout. But at the same time, he also announced a startling challenge against Australian UFC star Alexander Volkanovski.
The five-time featherweight champion will face lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in a rematch at UFC 294 on October 22. After Brazilian superstar Charles Oliveira withdrew due to a face injury, Volkanovski agreed to match on short notice. He wanted to seize the opportunity to avenge his loss to Makhachev earlier this year.
Former middleweight champion Adesanya was most likely one of the opponents selected to face Makhachev, but he has decided to take a long vacation from competition.
Adesanya recently appeared on The Rock podcast, where he stated: “You won’t see me fight for a long time. Even with this short replacement, I’m sure they called my team up and my team was like, ‘He’s not fighting right now’. I’m just going to take my time. Heal. And then when I come back, f***ing run for the hills.”
Conor McGregor voiced his support for Israel Adesanya’s decision to take a hiatus from the octagon, applauding the move as a well-deserved break for the former middleweight champion. But in the process, he also made an odd swipe at Volkanovski.
McGregor posted on X:
“Big glove boxing sparring rounds in an enclosed ring and you are doing Sean in with a hand behind your back, lad. Rest up. And then come back and get that belt back.
And volk couldn’t hold my spit bucket. ”
McGregor hasn’t been involved in active competition after losing his last match against longtime foe Dustin Poirior in July 2021, where he shattered his leg.
Now he has been trying to make a comeback to the cage, bit it seems like a comeback will be difficult with the UFC-USADA split.
Back in September, McGregor also said that Volkanovski would be ‘quick work’ for him. Currently, Volkanovski is focused on reclaiming his status as the top featherweight competitor against unbeaten challenger Ilia Topuria. It seems like he has no imminent plans to confront the Irish star.
Volkanovski stated: “It’s a stacked division. There’s a lot of good talent in there but I guess there’s no one really knocking on the door right now except for Ilia and I want that one.”
But the allure of a rematch with Makhachev has fueled Volkanovski’s aspirations to become a two-division champion.
While speaking about his rematch with Makhachev, he stated: “Honestly, I’m happy because after the last fight, we have many questions. But all answers are going to be in Abu Dhabi inshallah.”