With UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski booked to face lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284, the promotion made the sensible decision to book an interim featherweight title fight. With three fighters in the running for that fight, there was bound to be one disappointed 145-pounder. That fighter is Arnold Allen.
The fighters the UFC tapped to compete for the interim crown are Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett. Rodriguez is the No. 2 fighter in the official UFC featherweight rankings. Emmett checks in at No. 5, while Allen is ranked at No. 4. Rodriguez and Emmett will face off on the pay-per-view portion of the UFC 284 fight card.
Allen, who is 19-1 in his career and 10-0 in the UFC, is coming off an October 29 TKO win over Calvin Kattar. A knee injury suffered by Kattar brought that fight to a close eight seconds into the second round.
The 28-year-old Allen was a bit taken aback by the UFC’s decision to bypass him for the interim title fight. However, he looks at the bright side of not fighting in Australia.
“I was a little bit surprised,” Allen told AbzTalks. “ I thought I was in just with the win streak on its own. I know the last fight wasn’t ideal, but I thought when you put the nine-fight winning streak without the last one, that was more than worthy than either of what those guys have done at the minute.”
“Fighting in Australia was far from ideal. It’s a long way away. You’d have to fly a camp out there and all that, obviously for a world title, you make it happen,” Allen added.
With Rodriguez and Emmett occupied, Allen feels a fight against former UFC featherweight champion and current No. 1 ranked Max Holloway makes the most sense.
“A lot of people are saying Max is the fight to make,” Allen said. “That would be a fun one. I don’t see why not. And also, I think a win over him would be a bigger statement, and then you throw your interim in the bin, right?”