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Just a little over a week ago, Alexander Volkanovski solidified his place in the world of mixed martial arts by successfully defending his UFC featherweight title for the fifth time.
After triumphing over Max Holloway twice, Brian Ortega, and “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung, Volkanovski faced a new challenge in Yair Rodríguez in the main event of UFC 290. Despite Rodríguez entering the fight with interim gold and high expectations, he became another victim of the Australian champion’s dominance in the 145-pound division.
Following his victory on July 8 in Las Vegas, many have claimed that Volkanovski is the greatest of all time in his weight class. Some, like bantamweight titleholder Aljamain Sterling, even place him in the same conversation as Jon Jones and Georges St-Pierre.
One of Volkanovski’s coaches has highlighted a key aspect that has contributed to his success thus far.
During a recent interview with Combat TV, Eugene Bareman, the founder of City Kickboxing, discussed Volkanovski’s latest defense at 145 pounds. While most of the Aussie’s training takes place at the Freestyle Fighting Gym under Joe Lopez, he frequently visits Bareman’s facility in New Zealand.
Bareman commended Lopez for his strategies and Volkanovski for effectively implementing them during fights. However, Bareman believes that Volkanovski’s unparalleled work ethic is the standout factor.
“He is constantly learning and elevating his game to new heights. He is the perfect student. When Joe lays out a gameplan, it is meticulous, and Volk knows exactly what needs to be done,” Bareman said. “He has complete faith in Joe’s strategy… And so far, Joe has been proven right.”
Having been involved in the sport for a long time, Bareman has seen many dedicated fighters and champions. But according to him, none of them compare to Volkanovski’s level of commitment.
“Volk wins a world championship, and within two or three days, I’ve seen him back in the gym… He constantly works on his martial arts skills and strives to improve. If you take away his talent, Joe’s coaching abilities, the team at Freestyle Fighting Gym, and City Kickboxing’s contributions, his formula for success remains intact… This, I believe, is the secret to his success.”
While it remains uncertain what Volkanovski’s next move will be, whether it’s a shot at Islam Makhachev’s lightweight title or another featherweight defense against the undefeated Ilia Topuria, it will undoubtedly offer another chance for him to add to his already impressive resume.
Please note that the quotes in this article should be credited to Combat TV if used.