Australia’s only UFC champion, Alex Volkanovski, is working on a children’s book he hopes will debunk the perception of fighters as thugs.
- Australian UFC champion Alex Volkanovski says fighters are often portrayed as thugs
- The featherweight champion is writing a children’s book to give the sport positive role models
- Volkanovski will defend his featherweight title against Max Holloway on UFC’s Fight Island in Abu Dhabi in July
The 31-year-old became the first fighter born in Australia to win a UFC belt when he defeated the previous featherweight champion Hawaiian Max Holloway, considered one of the greatest fighters of all time.
Volkanovski has been spending the COVID-19 lockdown adding another feather to his cap — children’s author.
“A lot of parents will come up to me and say: ‘My kid looks up to you’.
“This book is something I can be proud of and is what I’m all about. If I can give back to kids it means a lot to me.”
Mixed Martial Arts or MMA is one of the fastest-growing sports in the world but its premiere competition, the UFC, has been marred by high profile controversies.
It is a tarnished reputation Volkanovski hopes can be repaired.
“People always ask me: ‘What is your image?’ or ‘What is your brand?’ In this career you get told what to do a lot. They want a blueprint of Conor McGregor,” he said.
Volkanovski trains in Windang on the NSW South Coast where he lives with his young family. He says the tough guy image is the opposite of his experience of the MMA community.
“Some of the most respectful guys I’ve ever met are in this sport, but sometimes we don’t get portrayed that way,” he said.
“You go into a gym anywhere in the world and it’s all about respect and discipline and I don’t want people to forget that.”
Fight Island rematch
Volkanovski will return to the Octagon on July 11 as part of the UFC’s much-hyped Fight Island in Abu Dhabi, where he’ll be defending his title against vanquished foe Holloway.
The rematch was initially set to be held in Australia but COVID-19 has scuppered those plans.
“It would have been nice having my title fight in Australia but obviously that can’t happen,” Volkanovski said.
“I’ve done a lot of strength and conditioning, so I feel more explosive and powerful than ever.
“That’s why I think I’m finishing Max inside five rounds.”