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When Alexander
Volkanovski
arrived in the
Ultimate Fighting Championship
in 2016, few hailed him as a
future contender. His rise to power was equal parts steady and
stunning.

Volkanovski entered the organization on a 10-fight winning streak,
rattled off seven more victories inside the Octagon and then
captured the undisputed featherweight championship with a
five-round unanimous verdict over Max
Holloway
in the UFC 245 co-main event on Dec. 14. So long as
the COVID-19 pandemic does not interfere, the
City Kickboxing
-trained Aussie will make his first title
defense in a rematch with Holloway at UFC 251 on June 6 in Perth,
Australia.

Ahead of Volkanovski’s scheduled second encounter with Holloway,
here are five things you might not know about him:

1. His athletic exploits extend beyond the cage.

Prior to his transition to mixed martial arts, Volkanovski played
semi-pro rugby with the Warilla Gorillas of the South Coast Rugby
League in New South Wales, Australia. In 2010, became the fifth man
in team history to win the Michael
Cronin
Medal, awarded annually to the league’s best player. A
year later and in his final season, Volkanovski led the Gorillas to
their eighth championship.

2. Adversity has only visited him once.

Volkanovski made his professional MMA debut on May 19, 2012 at a
Revolution Promotions event and won his first three fights before
Corey
Nelson
stopped him with a third-round head kick and follow-up
punches under the Australian Fighting Championship banner. He has
not lost in 18 appearances since.

3. He belongs to an exclusive club.

When Volkanvoski outpointed Holloway to claim the UFC featherweight
championship, he joined some rarified air. Only four men have held
the undisputed 145-pound title: Volkanovski, Holloway, Conor
McGregor
and Jose Aldo
(twice).

4. The championship life suits him.

Before he linked arms with the UFC, Volkanovski won titles in five
other organizations: Southern Fight Promotions, Roshambo MMA,
Australian Fighting Championship, Pacific Xtreme Combat and
Wollongong Wars.

5. Opponents often meet violent ends.

Volkanovski has delivered more than half (11) of his 21 career
victories by knockout or technical knockout, seven of them inside
one round. He scored his quickest finish at Australia Fighting
Championship 13, where he put away James
Bishop
with punches in 99 seconds on June 14, 2015.

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possible during this urgent time. Visit the Centers for Disease
Control at CDC.gov or
the World Health Organization at Who.int for the latest information on the coronavirus
and learn what you can do to stop the spread.
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