Australian featherweight Alex Volkanovski says he's fully recovered from a painful rib injury suffered last month and is ready to book his next bout.
Ideally, some time in October. Preferably in the United States. And 100 percent against a ranked opponent.
Volkanovski (18-1) improved to 5-0 in the UFC last month with a decision win over Darren Elkins. Volkanovski dominated the fight despite suffering a tear in his intercostal muscles during a light, fight-week workout.
He intends to resume wrestling practice this week for the first time since the injury, and would like a fight in October. He tried to call out Chad Mendes for his next opponent, but the former title challenger is angling for a bigger matchup.
"I really wanted that fight, and the UFC wanted it, but it looks like Chad wants the easy path to the title," Volkanovski told ESPN. "He wants the big fights, as we all do, but I thought that would have made sense.
"I wouldn't say that fight is dead, but I'm not going to wait around. The UFC offered me Mendes, which shows they know I'm a threat in the division. I'm not a prospect anymore. I'm a contender. And I think the UFC knows that."
As much as he's disappointed that Mendes didn't take the bait, Volkanovski says he's not surprised. He understands he's not the most attractive opponent.
His skill set is well established at this point, but his name doesn't carry the same notoriety as the more established veterans at 145 pounds. So, rather than call out someone like Mendes (who is coming off a win), Volkanovski is turning his focus to any highly ranked featherweight coming off a loss.
"It's going to be hard for me to get a fight against these guys," Volkanovski said. "But these guys who are coming off a loss, they're not in a position to be calling the shots. Cub Swanson, Jeremy Stephens -- one of those would be unreal."
In a perfect world, Volkanovski says he would take out one of those names in October, and then headline a UFC Fight Night event in early December in Adelaide, Australia.
And who knows? If that scenario were to play out, perhaps he'd end up getting a crack at Mendes after all.
"How great would that be?" Volkanovski said. "Take out a decent name like Stephens or Swanson in October, then be the main event against Chad Mendes in Adelaide? That would be good."