Less than two weeks before he heads into camp for his title defence against Brian Ortega in Las Vegas, UFC world champion Alex Volkanovski surprised students at Windang Primary School on Thursday afternoon.
His appearance at the school assembly ended with the children chanting Alex, Alex, Alex and throwing their hats in the air. They also got to hold his championship belt.
"I love seeing that," Volkanovski said.
"It was an incredible feeling when they surrounded me and started chanting. What I do is so much more than just the sport. I love being able to give back to them."
The visit came about after Alexander the Great children's book author Courtney Beaton approached school principal Loreta Kocovska to ask if she could read the story to the students.
"It is a children's book all about grit, determination, perseverance, working towards your dreams and never giving up. Anything that inspires the kids to keep trying is good," Ms Kocovska said.
Volkanovski appeared halfway through Ms Beaton reading the book she had worked on with the UFC star who trains near the school at Windang.
At the end students threw up their hands asking questions such as how much does his title belt weigh and who was his toughest opponent.
Volkanovski's surprise visit ended with photos with all the children who kept chanting his name.
Student Tynan Conte trains at the same gym as his hero and said his visit was totally unexpected.
"It was a big surprise," he said.
Volkanovski said the reaction of the children was great motivation and gave him a real boost as he prepares to head to Las Vegas.
"It is an unreal feeling," he said.
"We wanted to do something like this to show a whole different side to the sport that some people don't get to see such as the discipline and hard work.
"Some of the nicest people I have ever met are in this sport. There definitely are some athletes in our sport that you can really look up to."
Volkanovski said it was great seeing how many children had read the book. And how proud they and the community are in his achievements on the world stage.
He said the wins and accolades are not all about him. They are bigger than him.
Most of his fights are a long way from home and he loves bringing titles back home to Australia, the Illawarra and Windang.
And he never takes all the success he has locally for granted.
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