THE rise of UFC featherweight star Alex Volkanovski seems like a whirlwind to some, but those in the know will tell you it's been anything but.
The Shellharbour product is riding a six-fight win streak towards a UFC title fight with the winner of the Max Holloway-Frankie Edgar showdown.
Long before that, he built a 14-1 record on the domestic scene, including two stoppage victories at the Wollongong Wars.
The Wars will return for its seventh installment at the iconic Snakepit on Friday night with multiple-time world titlist Brad 'Quake' Riddell headlining an 11-fight card.
A regular in Volkanovski's corner, Riddell will continue his push towards a UFC debut when he takes on 'The Samoan Warrior' Mikey Vaotuua in the feature bout.
A wealth of home-grown talent, including rising star Colby Thicknesse, will also step into the cage. Promotor - and Volkanovski's coach - Jo Lopez expecting a massive show.
"Brad Riddell's a former kickboxing world champion and he's fighting the main event against Mikey Vaotua," Lopez said.
"We've got a guy from [UFC middleweight champion] Robert Whittaker's team there, Elvis Sinosic has some guys from his gym there.
"We've got a fair few local guys on the card as well and that's the real reason I do it.
"People have said before they expected Alex to leave [the Illawarra] because our gym wouldn't be good enough but he's really opened the door a lot.
"A lot of it depends on the guys you've got training with but I definitely think there's some [local] guys who can get [to the UFC]."
Volkanovski is currently in the midst of his own fight camp as an effective standby for the UFC 240 bout between Holloway and Edgar.
Volkanovski is on weight and ready to step in should any late mishaps befall either fighter - something that's happened in the two previous scheduled bouts between the pair.
Lopez will be with his charge in Canada for the fight, but a fight against the winner on what would be a monster UFC 243 card in Australia in October, headlined by the Whittaker-Israel Adesanya middleweight unification bout remains plan A.
"He's got to make weight if something happens so we're going there like it's a fight camp," Lopez said.
"It's a hard one because who do you train for? Do you train for Max or do you train for Frankie but, at the same time, we're going there like we're fighting.
"He went to Thailand for a week, we'll head to New Zealand next week and then to Canada from there."