Alexander Volkanovski reacts as Ilia Topuria changes social-media bio to ‘UFC champion’ before fight

Alexander Volkanovski has said it will be a ‘humbling experience’ for Ilia Topuria to update his social-media bio after their main event at UFC 298 this month.

Volkanovski has been dominant as featherweight champion and is due to make his next defence on 17 February, when he fights the unbeaten Topuria. While Volkanovski has forged an impressive reign at 145lbs, the Australian faltered twice in 2023, losing to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev on points in February and via knockout in October.

Those results have fed Topuria’s already-supreme confidence, which has led the Georgian-Spaniard to update his Instagram and X bios to read: “UFC World Champion. Undefeated 15-0.” Topuria, 27, is in fact 14-0 with 12 stoppage wins.

Speaking on the Free Stylebender YouTube channel on Wednesday (7 February), Volkanovski said: “For me, I get to play the experienced champion, and I’m just going to humble the dude. So for me, I’m like: ‘Time will tell.’ The next press conference, in a couple of days, [his] words are going to be much different.

“Someone is going to have to go onto their bio on Instagram and change it, literally themselves. What a humbling experience that will be, and I’m going to make sure... I don’t want the manager or the trainers or his wife [girlfriend] doing it. I want him personally to change that to ‘14-1’ and ‘contender’ or whatever he’s gonna change it to.

“He needs to do that. One thing for me – and this is how I’ve always been – is you earn your spot. ‘Earned not given’, that’s been a quote I’ve loved using. Obviously it’s been around for a long time, I’ve loved using it, I’m all about that quote.”

Volkanovski, 35, has never been beaten at featherweight, with his three career defeats coming twice at 155lbs – against Makhachev – and once at welterweight, back in 2013. His first-round loss to Makhachev in October occurred after Volkanovski stepped in on short notice.

Between his defeats by Makhachev, Volkanovski stopped Yair Rodriguez in July to record a fifth successful title defence. Topuria, meanwhile, will enter UFC 298 on the back of a dominant decision against Josh Emmett in June.