A renowned pub in Australia has been renamed to honor UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski.
The Illawarra Hotel – a famous traditional Aussie pub in New South Wales – was recently rebranded into The Volknaovski Hotel after the MMA superstar. Ryan Aitchison revealed that the decision to rename his pub was made to recognize Volkanovski's achievements. The publican said through an Instagram post:
"Some towns give their heroes the key to the city, here in the Illawarra we're going to go one bigger, and we're going to give our hero the keys to the pub."
Check out the Instagram post below:
Aitchinson also told The Illawarra Mercury that the town is merely reciprocating its love for their "hero" and "role model."
Reaction to the name change was overwhelmingly positive among pubgoers. Hundreds of patrons left positive comments after it was announced on social media that the No.3-ranked UFC pound-for-pound fighter has the keys to the pub.
Volkanovski served the first round of beers and steaks since the rebrand, to his coach Eugene Bareman and his manager Rhys Dal Cin. Honored by the grand gesture, Volkanovksi told The Illawara Mercury:
"The support has always been incredible from the Illawarra. That's why I always try to do my best to support the Illawarra in the same sense."
Alexander Volkanovski calls it a dream to fight Conor McGregor
Alexander Volkanovski is gearing up for a main event title fight against Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 in April 9. However, the reigning featherweight champ appears to be already looking ahead to a potential high-profile matchup against Conor McGregor down the line.
During an interview with James Lynch, Volkanovski explained why McGregor, who no longer competes in the 145-pound weight class, is one of his targets. The Aussie champion said:
"So I’ve taken out the featherweight champs. That’s the only one left, isn’t it? Me, Aldo, Max, and Conor. So it makes a lot of sense. Obviously, it would be a dream and then I’ve taken out all the other champs in my division so that would be incredible. Obviously, you talk about the payday and all that – the circus around it would be great. But at the same time, talking about legacy, he’s undefeated at featherweight, too. That would mean something. [But] I don’t think he’s making featherweight too soon."
Catch Alexander Volkanovski's interview: