Volkanovski has beaten everyone there is to beat in the division he’s ruled for more than four years, which is why he is so excited to add the scalp of the young, highly rated Topuria to his legacy.
Speaking to TNT Sports, Volkanovski said: “I think it’s a perfect fight for now. Obviously coming off the last one, where a lot of people are going to be like, ‘How’s he gonna bounce back?’
“Now I’ve got this young, hungry, undefeated fighter, a powerful dude. So I think it’s a perfect fight for my story.
“I think it’s going to be a good learning experience for him. He’s young where he can bounce back from it, but I believe I’m gonna be too much for him, and again, I think he’s just a part of my story right now.
“I might be a part of his story later on – like ‘it was a big learning curve for him and he bounced back’. Maybe that can be a part of his story later on but for now, he’s just a part of my story.”
It’s a story that began late but Volkanovski made up for lost time as he ascended the UFC rankings rapidly before dethroning Max Holloway and clinching gold.
But time waits for no man and at 35, he is eager to “capitalise” while he feels he is at his “prime.” Part of that ambition is driven by a desire to “get as many pay cheques” as possible before he hangs his gloves up, but he also still covets another crack at the lightweight title.
His second defeat against 155lb champion Makhachev came via a head kick in the first round after he agreed to fight the pound-for-pound No. 1 on 11 days’ notice, a decision that was questioned by many within the sport.
Asked if he would do it all over again, he added: “Look, I’m proud of who I am and the guy that would always back himself and take on them decisions.
“I’m more disappointed of the timing and where I was at that time. I wasn’t as disciplined as I usually am, and you saw that.
“That’s why I was a lot heavier than I usually am so I had to do the big weight cut and I would usually be in a much better position taking on a fight on 11 days’ notice.
“I’ve always prided myself on being a full-time fighter, I’m always in the gym, and that just wasn’t me them few months. That’s what I’m more disappointed with.
“But I’m still proud and I still stand by my decision.”
He’s honest and realistic enough to know that a third fight against Makhachev in what is a stacked division is unlikely anytime soon, but the lure of becoming just the fourth two-weight champion in the promotion’s history remains hard to ignore.
“I would love to obviously have another chance at Islam, but if it is Islam holding that belt, I like to be real. If he was, am I going to be the likely opponent?” Vokanovski continued.
“Obviously with how the last one turned out, it might be hard, but if someone else was there that’s a different story. Then it does make sense to have me going in there and fighting somebody else.
“And then while I’m champion he can try and take it back off me and that’s how we can do the third match, cause obviously I want that and would love a full camp and to challenge myself again.
“He is a great fighter. I think he deserves that pound-for-pound No. 1 spot that he’s got, but I still believe I am that guy.
“I want a chance there to show everyone that.”
For now, though, it’s full focus on the immediate job in hand, which is to silence the unbeaten Topuria.
The 27-year-old has won all six of his fights in the UFC and has cut a supremely confident figure in the build-up to the biggest night of his career against arguably the greatest featherweight of all time.
Volkanovski, however, insists he is not concerned by what he described as “delusional” trash talk, adding: “If he’s preparing for the easiest fight, I don’t think I need to say any more than that. We obviously know that’s not going to be good for him at all.
“If he’s saying these things for promotion reasons or maybe it’s for his mindset cause he needs to go in there believing that, or thinking it to intimidate me or whatever it is, maybe there’s a deeper meaning to it.
“Sometimes being delusional can work in your favour if you are calculated and still preparing properly, but we’ll see.”