SOUTH Coast UFC star Alex Volkanovski's next bout will almost certainly be for the featherweight title after he ground out a unanimous decision win over Brazilian legend Jose Aldo in Rio on Sunday.
An underdog with the bookies, Volkanovski, a former Warilla-Lake South Gorilla, won all three rounds on all three judges scorecards to silence a parochial home crowd and hand the future hall-of-famer a defeat in the penultimate bout of his storied career.
The 30-year-old Shellharbour products leg kicks and superior work rate proved the story of the bout, out-landing Aldo in significant strikes 95-29.
It extends his win streak to 17 victories, the last seven in the UFC octagon, and is undoubtedly his biggest scalp to date.
It leaves him odds-on to fight current division king Max Holloway for the featherweight strap in his next bout, though the Hawaiian champion's most recent bout was in the lightweight division.
Former long-reigning lightweight champion Frankie Edgar remains in the discussion but a potential co-feature with the upcoming Robert Whittaker-Israel Adesanya middleweight showdown in Australia would be a tantalising prospect for promoters.
It's certainly what Volkanovski has in mind during his post-fight interview.
"I told you I was going to bring the win," Volkanovski said.
"I'm next in line 100 per cent. I'm the only one who's undefeated [in the UFC] in the top three now.
"I should be ranked number one, let's set it up. I wouldn't mind being on the same [Whittaker-Adesanya] card in Australia.
"That'd be a cracker of a card, let's make it happen."
ESPN analyst and current UFC heavyweight champion Daniel Cormier agreed, telling the coverage.
"Alexander Volkanovski did a phenomenal job," Cormier said.
"Sometimes the fight isn't as exciting as you expect or want it to be but to come into Rio and get a victory over all Jose Aldo, and shut him out on all the judges scorecards, is very impressive.
"It's something to be very excited about, very proud of and may have solidified him as the next contender for Max Holloway's title."