UFC champ Alex Volkanovski parties in Las Vegas with Shaquille O’Neal after stunning win over Yair Rodriguez… with the Aussie receiving a huge boost from Dana White: ‘He’s proven himself a million times’
- Alex Volkanovski parties with Shaquille O’Neal
- Dana White grants Aussie special privilege
- Volkanovski defended UFC title for fifth time
After securing a fifth defence of his featherweight title against Yair Rodriguez in Las Vegas, UFC champ Alex Volkanovski has been spotted celebrating with Shaquille O’Neal and Jamal Murray.
Volkanovski re-asserted himself as the featherweight champion with a dominant TKO victory over Rodriguez at 4:19 of the third round at UFC 290.
The win was the Aussie’s 11th in a row at 145 pounds and stakes his claim as being the greatest pound-for-pound fighter on the planet.
Aussie UFC star Alex Volkanovski has secured a fifth defence of his featherweight title
So impressive was his performance against Rodriguez, that UFC boss Dana White has granted Volkanovski the green light to decide his next move.
‘Volk looked incredible,’ White said.
‘He’s an absolute freak.
‘He’s at one of those places in his career now where whatever he wants to do, what are we gunna say?
‘He’s proven himself a million times. So whatever he wants to do we go with it, yeah.’
Following the win, Volkanovski and his team celebrated in Vegas with NBA Hall-of-Famer Shaquille O’Neal and 2023 NBA champion Jamal Murray.
In a video clip posted to Instagram, ‘The Great’ can be seen partying alongside the pair, with O’Neal DJing in the background to a cheering audience.
O’Neal, 51, has long had an interest in musical pursuits and goes by the name of DJ Diesel when he’s playing tracks.
NBA legend Shaquille O’Neal has long had an interest in musical pursuits and goes by the name of DJ Diesel when he’s playing tracks
After the UFC event, the Aussie superstar revealed he had come into the fight with a serious arm injury that will now require surgery
The unexpected video caught many fans by surprise, and they took to social media to comment.
‘Dudes life is a movie,’ wrote one Twitter user
‘It looks like Shaq brought his kid to work,’ joked another.
After the fight Volkanovski revealed he had performed with a serious arm injury that will require surgery.
‘I’ll be completely honest with you, I need to get a little bit of surgery on my arm,’ he said.
‘Going through camp was a bit of a struggle but I was always going to turn up here and do my thing.
‘I’ll go and get that surgery as soon as I get home and I’ll be back in. I’ll make sure I stay fit while I’m in recovery and I’ll be back here soon. I want that lightweight belt (and) I’m still coming for it.’
The Wollongong native came into the contest coming off his first loss in more than 20 professional fights, when he moved up to lightweight to take on champ Islam Makhachev, losing a razor-thin decision.
It will surprise nobody if Volkanovski angles for a rematch with Makhachev before the end of the year.
Volkanovski will likely head up to lightweight again for a chance at double champion status
‘We all know I want that lightweight belt,’ Volkanovski said at the post-fight press conference.
‘We all know I want that rematch. I want that Islam fight. I think not only for me to get that belt, to get that win back but I think it is a massive fight for the UFC as well.
‘I think it’s a fight everyone wants to see. It was literally that type of fight. It was that close. It was a cracking fight. Everyone enjoyed it. I was very, very high level. It was [No. 1 and No. 2 pound-for-pound] going at it. We showed out, it really was that.
‘He lived up to the hype. I lived up to the hype and that fight lived up to the hype. We just need to see [rounds] 5 to 10.’