HE knew he was in for a rough ride but UFC featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski had no idea just how arduous his COVID experience would prove to be.
The Wollongong native learned of his positive COVID test the morning of his weigh-in ahead of his scheduled UFC title defence against Brian Ortega at UFC 260.
It saw the bout canned and left the 32-year-old father of three facing quarantine in Las Vegas, but a video diary released on Tuesday revealed he had no idea what he was in for.
Coughing up blood, concerningly low oxygen levels and a dramatic drop in heart rate were all part of his "scary" experience with COVID pneumonia.
It's an experience he felt compelled to share to show the pandemic "ain't no joke."
"Everyone's going to have their thoughts on it and a lot of people have asked me if I even had symptoms but now you're aware the symptoms are pretty wild," Volkanovski said.
"Now you're aware the symptoms got pretty wild. We got the normal symptoms and they can lead to other things - pneumonia, lung problems, it got pretty serious. If was more unhealthy, maybe overweight or had underlying problems, you can see why people pass away.
"This is quite serious. I've always taken it seriously, but now I understand it's very unpredictable. It's very, very contagious because it got through and got a couple of members of our team."
Now fully recovered, and on a slow and steady path back to peak athletic fitness, a silver lining to the cancelled bout has emerged in the opportunity to coach against Ortega in the iconic reality TV series The Ultimate Fighter. It will prolong his time in the Vegas ahead of belated showdown with Ortega tipped for August.
"I was literally waiting to find out whether I could get home, we heard about this TUF thing happening and we had to see if Ortega was up for it," Volkanovski told Ariel Helwani's MMA Show.
"I got confirmation of that literally 10 minutes before it was announced so it happened very quickly. It's a big opportunity and I can't wait.
"There's no bad blood between me and Ortega but I'm a competitive dude and I ain't losing anything. I'm the champ for a reason and I'm going to show everyone why."