Alex Volkanovski won't have to wait long for his shot at redemption, with the Wollongong native confirmed to return to the octagon in early 2024.
UFC president Dana White on Tuesday (AEDT) announced that the featherweight king (26-3) will defend his strap against top contender Ilia Topuria (14-0) at UFC 298 in February.
"We're busting into the new year with some fun fights," White said
"I'm going to hit you with three more pay-per-view headliners. In January, we're doing Sean Strickland versus Dricus Du Plessis. In February, we're doing Volkanovski versus Topuria. And in March, we're doing (Sean) O'Malley versus (Marlon) Vera."
The announcement comes a fortnight after Volkanovski fell short in his bid for double-champ status, knocked out by lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in the first round of their rematch in Abu Dhabi.
The 35-year-old took that fight on just 11 days notice following the withdrawal of Charles Oliveira.
Volkanovski dropped an incredible 12 kilos in 11 days to make the 155-pound limit, and there were concerns for his mental health after he fought back tears and spoke about his struggles in the post-fight conference. However, days later, the Illawarra talent moved to "clear the air" on the situation.
"I want people to understand it was raw emotion that you saw, but I want everyone to know I'm OK as well," Volkanovski said.
"You've got to remember I did have a bit going on [mentally], I just got tagged, I got knocked out, I lost, I knew legacy-wise [it was significant]. All these things start to come into play. That was obviously hurting me."
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