Featherweight contender Alexander Volkanovski will face former longtime champion Jose Aldo at UFC 237 in Brazil on May 11. The matchup carries major implications, as the winner could fight next for the division's title.
But it's only happening thanks to the graciousness of Volkanovski's best friend, Eli Hutchinson, and Hutchinson's fiancée, Lauren Whitmee, who moved the date of their wedding so Volkanovski could compete in his dream fight and also attend the ceremony.
Volkanovsi is the best man in the wedding.
"I was trying to put the feelers out for a different date just so I could make the wedding, but they wanted that fight that date. Obviously, I had to take it," said Volkanovski, the No. 4 featherweight contender in the UFC. "My mate was aware of what was going on, and his fiancée decided to change the date.
"A lot of people would be like, 'It's just a wedding, get over it.' But I'm a loyal man. That would have really hurt me if I couldn't make it," Volkanovski continued. "I've been best mates with this guy for a long time, and we are very, very close. It would have been a massive heartbreak for me if I couldn't make it, but they did that, and I'm so grateful for it. Now it just makes me want to win even more."
Volkanovski (19-1, 6-0 in the UFC) has not lost a fight since 2013. The Australian is coming off a second-round TKO win against Chad Mendes in December that was awarded "Fight of the Night."
Aldo claimed the UFC's featherweight belt in 2010 and defended it seven straight times before being knocked out by Conor McGregor in just 13 seconds in 2015. After losing twice to current champion Max Holloway, Aldo then bounced back with TKO wins against Jeremy Stephens and Renato Moicano.
Volkanovski said the winner will surely be next in line for the title, though the UFC has not officially promised anything.
"This is 100 percent the No. 1 contender fight," he said. "If I take out Aldo in his home country, you cannot deny me the title after that. I'm in prime condition. You're going to see the best Alexander Volkanovski you've ever seen."