Alexander Volkanovski has said from early 2020 that none of the four contenders lined up had done enough to earn a title shot. Those four names were Brian Ortega, The Korean Zombie Chan Sung Jung, Zabit Magomedosharipov, and Yair Rodriguez.
While Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez fell through in a planned main event for August 29th, Brian Ortega and The Korean Zombie faced off in the latest UFC Fight Island event. Brian Ortega defeated The Korean Zombie in a five-round masterclass, securing a title shot after Dana White confirmed that the fight was for the number one contender's spot.
Alexander Volkanovski finally knows who he's facing next, and it will be Brian Ortega. The Australian UFC Featherweight Champion had been keeping a close eye to scout his next opponent, and he was happy to see the emergence of his newest challenger:
It's not known whether the winner of Zabit Magomedsharipov vs. Yair Rodriguez will be a number one contender's fight. But for starters, the fight has to be rebooked.
When will Alexander Volkanovski and Brian Ortega face off?
The best bet is to look at the first quarter of 2021 as the time to book the Alexander Volkanovski vs. Brian Ortega fight. UFC is booked up to January, with the first pay-per-view of 2021 expected to be between Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier.
UFC 256 would be perfect since it has a relatively weak card, but it's too soon a turnover for both Brian Ortega and Alexander Volkanovski. It seems as though the idea of a Max Holloway trilogy is down the drain, though it never picked up steam to begin with.
Either way, it will be interesting to see how the new and improved Brian Ortega will fare against Alexander Volkanovski - the man who shut out Max Holloway twice.