LONDON – Alexander Volkov wants to see the top of the heavyweight division rolling already.

The UFC heavyweight title contender hopes the company implements an interim belt in his division as the status of the champion, Francis Ngannou, remains uncertain. Ngannou is recovering from a knee injury and has yet to sign a new contract with the UFC. It’s unknown if he will remain in the promotion.

Volkov (34-9 MMA, 8-3 UFC), who returns Saturday against Tom Aspinall in the main event of UFC Fight Night 204, thinks an interim title makes sense in this scenario.

“I think an interim title would be quite a logical decision now because we frankly don’t know what will (happen),” Volkov told reporters through an interpreter at the UFC Fight Night 204 media day on Wednesday. “But the only question is: Who will fight for this interim title? (Ciryl) Gane lost, and (Tai) Tuivasa only entered now as a third. Right now it’s very dark times even for UFC heavyweights.”

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The Russian fighter is 3-1 in his past four fights. His lone loss came to recent UFC title challenger Ciryl Gane. Volkov hopes to build off momentum from his Marcin Tybura win last October and fight for the belt later in 2022.

But first, the 33-year-old needs to get past Aspinall (11-2 MMA, 4-0 UFC), who many are pegging to be the future of the division.

“He wasn’t an unknown fighter to me,” Volkov said regarding his opponent. “He has big names. He beat Andrei Arlovski. I was watching him during the fight and after this and thought he was an interesting opponent, a very hard one. I love this kind of fight when the young up-and-comer, powerful opponent is coming and forces me to evolve. This kind of fight is my favorite.”

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