UFC Fight Island: Calvin Kattar calls out Alex Volkanovski after win over Dan Ige in Abu Dhabi

The American, the No 6-ranked contender, came through an absorbing encounter at Flash Forum to take a unanimous decision

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Calvin Kattar says he’s ready to challenge featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski after defeating Dan Ige in the headline bout at UFC Fight Night 1 in Abu Dhabi.

The American, the No 6-ranked contender, came through an absorbing encounter at Flash Forum on Thursday morning to take a unanimous decision 49-46, 49-46, 48-47.

Kattar now wants to take on Volkanovski, who defeated Max Holloway at UFC 251 in the Fight Island opener on Sunday to make the first successful defence of his crown. The Australian, who has 19 successive victories (nine in UFC) captured the belt from Holloway in December.

Now Kattar wants to jump ahead of the contenders in the division, the majority of which he claims would rather talk than back it up with actions.

“If I make my case I’m not going to do with my mouth; I do it in the cage,” he said. “All these other guys, they all talk. Where I’m from, we don’t really talk about stuff too much - you go out and prove it. You earn it.

“And that’s not really the business model here, so it’s a little bit of an adjustment for me. I go out, I fight, I try to earn every opportunity in front of me. The champ should see that. He’s saying he wants contenders and he won’t find them more ready than myself.”

After the opening three rounds against Ige were tightly contested, Kattar pulled clear to inflict his opponent’s first loss in seven fights. Ige, the No 10-ranked contender, enjoyed some success in the second round, but in the end couldn’t keep up with Kattar’s pace and power.

Following on from his knockout success against Jeremy Stephens in May, Kattar (22-4 MMA, 6-2 UFC) has now won four of his past five fights.

Asked how he sees a clash against Volkanovski playing out, he said: “I see it good. Everybody in the top 10, top five is going to be tough. I just think I present other qualities that will get the job done. But tough kid. I see myself beating everybody they put in front of me, and the champ’s no different.

“I respect his mindset as a champ. He says he wants contenders. He’s not going to jump around other weight classes like everybody else is doing nowadays. I’m not hating on them either - two belts sounds real nice. But I respect the fact he wants to go out and fight the contenders in his weight class, and he’s got one in me.”

Former two-division champion Henry Cejudo, who announced his shock retirement in May, has called out Volkanovski as he attempts to clinch gold at a third weight.

However, Kattar said: “I don’t think the champ gives him the shot. Like he said, he’s not going to give him that ‘Greatest of All-time’ status.

“It’d be a good opportunity [for me] to go out and compete against [Volkanovski]. I’ve proven I can go five rounds. I just want more big opportunities. I’m ready for five-round fights and main events.”