UFC Featherweight Champ Ilia Topuria Meets Lionel Messi – ‘Real Recognize Real’

April 8, 2024
2 months
UFC Featherweight Champ Ilia Topuria Meets Lionel Messi - 'Real Recognize Real'

UFC Featherweight Champion Ilia Topuria had the privilege of meeting soccer legend Lionel Messi.

Topuria’s stock has risen exponentially since he knocked out Alexander Volkanovski in the second round at UFC 298 in February. The defeat ended Volkanovski’s reign as a champion, which had stood at four years. It was also Volkanovski’s first KO defeat at featherweight, showing the magnitude of the win. That kept Topuria’s undefeated record, which stands at 15-0. 13 of those wins were by knockout, showing Topuria’s explosive nature. Volkanovski is intent on having the rematch.

“Obviously I’ve been champion for a long time. And I want that rematch. It’s something that needs to happen. I’ve been a company man, backed up on short notice, faced Max three times … you name it I’ve done it. So I think I deserve that rematch. And it’s going to be different next time,” Volkanovski revealed 

Topuria Meets Messi

Now, the stardom has extended beyond the UFC, as Messi took a picture alongside the fighter. The following pictures show the two men next to each other. Messi was preparing to face Colorado during Inter Miami’s home game. While Topuria supports Real Madrid, Messi’s former rivals during his time playing for Barcelona, the two were happy to share each other’s company. The post was captioned with the following comments:

“With one of the biggest legends in the history of sports. He’s a great example for me and a role model for everyone,” Topuria stated 

Topuria was also honoured by Real Madrid, as he had the chance to walk out with the players during the team’s match against Sevilla in February. The following image shows the fighter meeting the players before kick-off, as Topuria was taking in the atmosphere.

His increased popularity has raised suggestions that the Volkanovski rematch could take place in Spain. Real Madrid’s Santiago Bernabeu stadium has been mentioned as a potential arena. Conor McGregor has even been mentioned as another opponent.

Topuria’s Future

McGregor is on course to make his return since losing to Dustin Poirier in 2021 at UFC 264. He has healed from his broken leg, and Michael Chandler is likely to be the next opponent. But if the conditions are right, Topuria was happy to face The Notorious at some point down the line. But the chances of that happening are slim, given that McGregor is unlikely to fight at featherweight again.

“You know how this works. You fight all the best in the world. He just won the title. He looks like a guy who could be one of the all-time greats. You’ve got to clean out that division. Once you do, you start figuring out what’s next. … I don’t know if we ever see Conor McGregor at 145 pounds again. I don’t think it ever happens. But everyone wants to fight Conor,” White revealed 

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