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City Kickboxing chief Eugene Bareman has said that Alexander Volkanovski would be well advised to put aside his plans to regain the UFC’s 145-pound title, for a little while at least. 

The Australian suffered the first defeat of his featherweight career earlier this month, losing by second-round knockout to the newly-crowned champion Ilia Topuria in the UFC 298 headliner from Anaheim, California. Speaking to the media afterwards, Volkanovski indicated that he would pursue a rematch against Topuria as soon as possible, and suggested that he would be more than willing to meet the new champion at the top of the card in the UFC’s debut trip to Topuria’s adopted home country of Spain.

But according to his longtime trainer Bareman, Volkanovski would be wise to sit and recuperate for a few months before considering a return to the cage — even if he is suffering from no after-effects from what was his third defeat in his last four fights.

“In terms of like, his symptoms, he doesn’t have any symptoms, which was not the case in the last knockout [against Islam Makhachev],” Bareman told Combat TV, as noted by MMA Junkie.

“There’s so many variables when it comes to having a knockout and how many symptoms you suffer and all of that,” he added. “I don’t know the science behind it, and I’m not going to begin to try to understand it.

“But he seems to not be as affected by this concussion as he was by the last one. I wouldn’t be able to tell you why. He definitely needs to rest. He needs to rest his head. He needs to be sensible, but he also will be very keen to get that rematch this year.”

It remains to be seen who the UFC will seek to pair Topuria with for his first defence of the 145-pound title. The shake-up at the top of the division has offered a route back to title contention for another former champion, Max Holloway, who had lost three successive title bouts to Volkanovski. He takes on Justin Gaethje in a lightweight bout at UFC 300 in April.

Elsewhere, Brian Ortega, who defeated Yair Rodriguez last weekend in Mexico City, and the unbeaten Movsar Evloev are likely the two other standout candidates for a world championship opportunity.