Alexander Volkanovski entered “The Ultimate Fighter” with the intention of stirring the pot and it looks like he achieved his goal.
Featherweight champion Volkanovski (22-1 MMA, 9-0 UFC) just spent weeks coaching Season 29 of TUF against future foe Brian Ortega (15-1 MMA, 7-1 UFC) and the pair are expected to square off sometime in fall.
Prior to the filming of the show, things seemed pretty respectful and cordial between the two. While there isn’t necessarily any bad blood now, Volkanovski says he’s not too big of a fan of Ortega’s personality and was able to get under his skin by playing a few pranks on him.
“To be honest, he doesn’t say much,” Volkanovski said on the “Joe Rogan Experience” podcast. “I’m a bit over him, to be honest. I just think he’s fake, and I don’t believe his sh*t. He plays a nice guy, and some of the sh*t he says, I think it’s all bullsh*t.”
He continued, “I don’t think he’s that bad of a guy, maybe I’m just looking for things to hate on him for…but it’s not hard to get under his skin. Even me just saying that, I guarantee you he’s boiling up, so maybe that’s gonna be strategy for my next fight because I know how easily he’s triggered.”
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Volkanovski mentioned one of the pranks that his assistant coach, grappling superstar Craig Jones, played on Ortega that almost got him kicked out of the show. Jones pretended to put Ortega’s COVID test swab up his backside, which Ortega didn’t respond very well to.
Volkanovski had an inkling that Ortega wouldn’t appreciate his pranks considering Ortega’s past altercation with Chan Sung Jung’s manager, so he tried to take advantage of that on the show.
“You’re trying to get reads on him and things like that, but I just think he’s f*cking award,” Volkanovski said. “He’s an awkward dude…we pretended to piss on his signs and all that, we got photos of us – again just a bit of a laugh, a bit of banter, but we know how he carries on.”
He continued, “We just had a photo of his (car) keys and supposedly he had the sh*ts and he he was like ‘Oh I’m gonna fight Craig,’ and I’m like I’m in the photo too. Why aren’t you saying you’ll fight me…but again, whether he was just going along with it or whatever it was, or he’s just easily triggered. I don’t know, but we started realizing that so we just started playing on that a fair bit and hey, knowing that he’s easily triggered, that might be a route to this next fight as well.”
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