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UFC champion Alex Volkanovski calls out Jeff Horn, Jake Paul

Alex Volkanovski was in the crowd to witness Paul Gallen’s unanimous points decision win over MMA legend Mark Hunt last week.

The UFC featherweight champion’s ears pricked when the ex-footy star called out Rob Whittaker. He’s got a big Aussie name of his own in mind: former world champion Jeff Horn.

“There’s a lot of boxers my weight. At the end of my UFC career, I’d love to do a bit of boxing,” told Wide World of Sports.

“If we could do it during the UFC career, there’s a few obstacles you’ve got to get through but it’s something I’d definitely do.

“I’ve even had a boxing match – I’m 1-0 in the pro circuit.”

Crossover and exhibition fights are all the rage right now. Mike Tyson vs Roy Jones. Jake Paul v Nate Robinson. Gallen v Hunt, and now Floyd Mayweather has confirmed he’ll take on Paul’s brother Logan next year in what will surely be the easiest money he’s ever made.

Add to the mix Snoop Dogg’s collaboration with entertainment and music platform Triller, to create a new boxing league called The Fight Club, and these type of fights are here to stay.

After all, Tyson vs Jones Jr was the highest-selling fight of 2020, with 1.6 million PPV sales according to reports, surpassing Jorge Masvidal’s fight with Kamaru Usman at UFC 251.

Volkanovski is under contract with Dana White and is coming off a first title defence victory over Max Holloway, with the sequel between the two garnering more controversy than their first clash.

The Australian MMA star is expected to defend his title for a second time against Brian Ortega in February. The 32-year-old declared his commitment to defending his title and even has plans of moving up to lightweight to have a crack at another belt.

The Wollongong native isn’t one to trash-talk. He’s more inclined to let his skills dictate circumstances inside and outside of competition. Yet that didn’t stop Volkanovski from calling out Horn, declaring it would be “fun” picking him apart in the boxing ring.

“Just the way he is. His boxing isn’t real crisp. His footwork is very unorthodox. I think I could catch him,” Volkanovski said.

“I know he’s thinking about retirement. I’ve got a lot of respect for him because he’s a respectful bloke but I think it would be fun.”

When asked who else he’d like to have “fun” with in the squared circle, Volkanovski was quick to mention YouTuber Jake Paul.

Paul has been doing his utmost to score a big-money fight with Conor McGregor, with UFC boss White shutting down his persistent call-outs and his relentless pursuit of the Irishman on social media.

The 2-0 boxer responded to White by saying the “company isn’t doing well” and said the only bigger fight is if Khabib Nurmagomedov comes out of retirement.

The UFC president, however, said he wanted to let Amanda Nunes fight the YouTuber rather than McGregor, with the reigning women’s bantamweight and featherweight champion expressing interest.

While there’d be a huge difference in weight, the 168cm Volkanovski – who fights at featherweight in the UFC (65kg) – believes the difference in size between himself and the 185cm Paul – who fights at cruiserweight (91kg) – could be a good selling point.

“You’ve got Jake Paul calling out all the UFC fighters. I’d be happy to be the smaller guy taking on someone like that. It would be pretty embarrassing for him,” Volkanovski said.

“If he really wants a UFC fighter and he wants to take on a champion, let him go down a few weight divisions and I’ll step up and show him this is a whole different realm.”

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