What can we say? He’s a man of the people.
If you mention the UFC to anyone down under, you’ll realise there’s fierce and untamed support for Alexander Volkanovski. There’s no wonder why the UFC Featherweight Champion of the world is undeniably one of Australia’s most significant professional athletes. Volkanovski has proven time and time again—that few fighters are willing to go the distance with our Australian marvel within the walls of the octagon.
For years it seemed the UFC was sleeping on a volcano that wasn’t dormant, erupting and causing chaos throughout the featherweight rankings within the UFC. Australia has known the punch capacity of Volkanovski extends past the main card of the UFC, so a famous NSW bar has honoured our champ by renaming their establishment in his honour.
Having dusted off Max Holloway and a successful title defence against Brian Ortega, the infamous Illawarra Hotel decided Alexander The Great needed more to his name, something that would pay homage to a local hero. Our Original Baller podcast guest may have hot hands, but one fact is certain—the champ knows how to pour a cold one.
“Some towns give their heroes the key to the city, here in the Illawarra we’re going to go one bigger, and we’re going to give our hero the keys to the pub,” said Aitchison. “[Volkanovski] always talks about where he comes from and he raves about the place, and now it’s time for us to start raving about our hero, a remarkable human that is an inspiration and a role model for everyone.” Ryan Aitchison, owner of the Illawarra Hotel.
Anyone in the local area was delighted to see Volkanovski pouring pints and demonstrating his love and appreciation before his next fight, which is this sunday against Chang Sung Jung, The Korean Zombie. When asked about the local support the champ simply put, “The support in the Illawarra, around Wollongong and even Australia in general, has been incredible,” Volkanovski told ESPN. “But even before I was in the UFC I’ve always had good backing from the people of the Illawarra, they’ve always supported me and this just shows it. It lets everyone know the support I have here. You hear talk of them having a statue of me up on Mount Ousley and what not, so the town always goes above and beyond for me and this is obviously incredible and I appreciate it a lot.
It’s fair to say, if you’re wondering where you should be this Sunday, your best bet is to get in early at the The Volkanovski Hotel.