Volkanovksi travels to Anaheim for his UFC 298 showdown with rising upstart Topuria subsequent weekend, however made a pit-stop journey to Melbourne final month for a uncommon chat with Patriots icon Brady.
Video of Brady throwing a soccer to Volk went viral, with the Aussie gaining round 200,000 followers on Instagram, which tipped him over the 2 million follower mark.
Extra importantly although, was the dialog Volkanovski had with the seven-time Tremendous Bowl champion.
“I’m nonetheless chasing a legacy like his, however I can relate to among the issues he spoke about,” Volkanovski instructed this masthead.
“He used to look in a mirror after some coaching classes and simply say to himself, ‘You don’t need to be right here, you don’t belong right here, you don’t deserve this hype’.
“And this was proper when everybody was saying how good he was – he was nonetheless the most effective – but it surely wasn’t adequate for him.
“It’s not about being the most effective, it’s about being higher than the person you have been the day earlier than.
“That’s stuff I’ve all the time completed as properly. It’s good to see the GOATs in all sports activities try this, so I really feel I’m heading in the right direction to attain it.”
Together with his featherweight title reign stretching into a powerful fifth yr, Volkanovski is already making a case to be thought-about one of many sport’s greats.
Former two-weight world champion Daniel Cormier believes he ought to already be in that dialog, however the Aussie says it’s undoubtedly nonetheless a piece in progress.
“Those who know the game can recognize that I ain’t combating simply anyone – I’m combating the most important challenges attainable,” he stated. “However, it’s nonetheless ongoing. If I haven’t completed sufficient for the individuals but, I’ll quickly.
“Lots of people are blissful to simply attain the highest of the mountain and sit on the prime. I’m not blissful simply to be there, I wish to maintain climbing.
“I wish to make it unattainable for these different guys to succeed in it.”
Which implies there’s much more on the road towards Topuria than his belt. There’s legacy at stake too.
As a result of, after his first spherical knockout loss to Islam Makhachev in October, there are many questions being requested about his title reign, his future within the sport and his standing as one of many UFC’s finest.
However, like Brady, it’s a state of affairs he relishes.
“I really like being on this place,” he says. “I thrive on it. There’s a variety of questions being requested about my age, however they’ll all cease subsequent week.
“I wish to be higher than the final time I stepped in there. Properly…it’ll be fairly straightforward to raised than the final time I used to be in there.
“However don’t be shocked if he’s shocked, embarrassed and humbled. He’s a superb fighter, however don’t be shocked if I make it look straightforward.”
Whereas the search to win the title might need fuelled his rise to the highest, Volkanovski seems to be nearer to house, at his spouse and three daughters, for inspiration today.
He doesn’t get caught up within the trappings of his success, regardless of his flying go to to talk with Brady, or the Lake Tahoe vacation he spent with Mark Zuckerberg final yr.
He trains, fights, does just a few appearances, and hangs out at house.
“Nothing,” he says when requested what he splashes out on. “I do that for my household, and that’s that.
“Possibly after it’s all stated and completed, we will splash out extra, however for now, I’m attempting to mould my youngsters into good, unbiased girls.
“I wish to make certain they’re set for all times, however I need them to earn what’s theirs as properly. That’s all that issues.
“That’s why, with Tom Brady, I went there after coaching for one night time and I used to be again the subsequent day at coaching.
“Folks noticed me on Instagram with Mark Zuckerberg, however the subsequent day I used to be again house being dad.
“I’m a champion within the cage, however I’m only a common bloke at house, and that’s what retains me grounded. You simply don’t see that model of me (on social media), however all I do is that.
“That’s after I’m the most effective model of myself.”
These altering motivations clarify Volkanovski’s choice to battle Makhachev on simply 11 days’ discover final yr too.
At 35, he is aware of his days within the sport are restricted, and needs to ensure he doesn’t waste any time – even when it means combating the quantity two ranked pound-for-pound fighter on the earth on extraordinarily quick discover.
“I wish to keep energetic, as a result of I don’t know the way lengthy I’ve bought on this, and I’m conscious of it,” he says. “I really feel nice, however, how lengthy are you gonna really feel nice for?
“I don’t wish to wait round for six months.
“That’s why combating is so easy, it’s to maintain me energetic and being the most effective model of myself and the most effective father I could be.”
Initially printed as UFC 298: Alex Volkanovski talks classes from Tom Brady forward of battle towards Ilia Topuria