Ilia Topuria scored a dominant decision win over former interim UFC featherweight championship contender Josh Emmett in the main event at UFC Jacksonville on Saturday. 'El Matador' put on an absolute clinic, thoroughly outclassing Emmett before going on to call for a title shot.
One of two active Spanish fighters in the UFC, Topuria currently boasts of a perfect 14-0 record topped off by three consecutive bonus-winning performances. Having finished four of his six UFC wins, 'El Matador' certainly looks on the trajectory to give Spain its first UFC champion.
Spanish soccer icons Sergio Ramos and Ferran Torres were also present cage-side at UFC Jacksonville, which goes on to speak volumes about Topuria's rising stardom.
Apart from Topuria, who is part Georgian, the only active Spanish UFC fighter is Joel Alvarez. The lightweight prospect bounced back from a foiled debut in 2019 to score four consecutive stoppage wins before coming up short against elite contender Arman Tsarukyan. 'El Fenomeno' is currently scheduled to meet Marc Diakiese on July 22 at UFC London.
Meanwhile, another Spanish UFC fighter, Juan Espino announced his retirement in April, having last competed in 2021, a split decision loss against Alexandr Romanov. The TUF 28 Heavyweight winner ranks number 9 on Tapology's Spanish P4P rankings.
Ilia Topuria will accept only one other fight if not a shot at the UFC featherweight champion
While Ilia Topuria certainly has a legitimate claim to the next featherweight title shot, he will have to wait for his turn. Alexander Volkanovski puts his title on the line against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 8, meaning at least a couple of months before the next title fight at 145 lbs.
Topuria claims he will accept only one other matchup if not wait for his gold bid. 'El Matador' wants a fight in front of his home fans in Spain against featherweight legend Max Holloway. The 26-year-old said during the UFC Jacksonville post-fight presser:
“I’m the next guy in the line. I can wait. One of the best skills that I have is the patience. If they offer me to fight with Max Holloway in Spain, let’s do it. If not, I’m going to wait for my title fight. That’s all.”
Catch Ilia Topuria's comments below: