Former UFC fighter Alan Jouban has given his take regarding who Alexander Volkov should fight next. The No. 7-ranked UFC heavyweight is coming off an impressive first-round TKO win over the No. 8-ranked Jairzinho Rozenstruik, whom he faced at tonight's UFC Vegas 56 event.
In a conversation with Jouban and UFC welterweight Michael Chiesa for ESPN MMA, UFC analyst Megan Olivi jestingly highlighted that speculation regarding Volkov’s next move began almost immediately after he'd just fought. On that note, Jouban suggested that Volkov should fight the No. 5-ranked Derrick Lewis next. Jouban stated:
“I think he [Volkov] needs to redeem himself against you know who? Derrick Lewis! Number five. He’s ahead of him in the division. And like, a lot of these guys probably have fights. I get that. But the Derrick Lewis fight, I bring that one up again."
"That’s a fight that, he [Volkov] was in the driver’s seat. He was winning this fight the entire time. He got lackadaisical in his fight, threw one too many knees, got caught with a Derrick Lewis overhand right, put him down, the fight was over.”
Jouban opined that Volkov would love to avenge his 2018 KO loss to Lewis and use the win to continue rebuilding his momentum in the division. Meanwhile, Michael Chiesa alluded to the fact that Lewis is scheduled to fight Sergei Pavlovich at UFC 277 on July 30. Chiesa indicated that Volkov should wait to see how the upcoming heavyweight matchups play out before choosing his next opponent.
Watch the video below:
Could the bad blood between Derrick Lewis and Alexander Volkov culminate in a rematch in 2022?
The buildup to the first fight between Alexander Volkov and Derrick Lewis featured both fighters almost coming to blows at the weigh-ins. Their fight transpired at UFC 229 in October 2018 and saw ‘Drago’ thoroughly outwork Lewis for most of the bout. However, he was stopped via KO courtesy of a Lewis overhand right in the closing seconds of the third and final round.
Furthermore, during Volkov’s fight against Ciryl Gane in June 2021, Lewis notably jibed at the Russian and labeled the fight a “sparring match.” Lewis tweeted:
“Karate sparing match @ufc”
While Alexander Volkov lost to 'Bon Gamin' via unanimous decision, Lewis later faced Gane in August 2021 and lost via third-round TKO. Given their history and current rankings, Volkov and Lewis could likely clash again later this year, provided that Lewis comes out of his UFC 277 fight relatively unscathed.