Morning Report: Ilia Topuria has 'no doubt' he'll be 'highest-paid athlete in the world' in 2025 (2024)

Morning Report: Ilia Topuria has 'no doubt' he'll be 'highest-paid athlete in the world' in 2025 (1)

Morning Report: Ilia Topuria has 'no doubt' he'll be 'highest-paid athlete in the world' in 2025 (2)

01/05/2024 14:00

Ilia Topuria has all the confidence in the world.

"El Matador's" supremely talented skillset led him to a seemingly inevitable world title victory when he defeated longtime featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski by second-round knockout in February. As an undefeated 15-0 titleholder, Topuria is still just 27 years old and has quickly become a true MMA superstar.

With the support of Europe behind him, the sky is the limit on Topuria's popularity potential. As he continues to ascend, the featherweight king expects to reap the rewards financially, equating himself to that of football's Cristiano Ronaldo come 2025.

"Look, I can tell you that I have no doubt that in 2025, I will be the highest-paid athlete in the world," Topuria told Webpositer (h/t Championship Rounds). "I'll be there. I'd be surprised if I didn't do it. I have no doubt, really."

Topuria's past claims and predictions have all come true thus far, but he'll, unfortunately, have quite the uphill battle to achieve that goal in MMA. Never say never, I suppose.

Until 2025, Topuria will likely defend his title at least once as the world awaits an expected Max Holloway title tilt. However, the champion still isn't keen on the idea of the matchup without Holloway's newly-earned BMF crown on the line along with his undisputed strap.

"You are the BMF champion, you have the opportunity for the title, to fight for the title," Topuria said. "What are you going to do? Are you going to fight or are you not going to fight? He says, 'Sign the contract,' this, that, such and such. Where are you? Put the title in the game.

"What I said was how I'm not going to fight him if he doesn't put the BMF belt on the line. [Holloway] was like, 'That's not the way a real BMF claims the title.' You want me to come and put this belt on the table, and you don't want to put yours [on the table]? That is, if you lose, you want to continue being the BMF. How does this work? I mean, what BMF are you?"

Few fights that can be made in the immediate future are as exciting to visualize as Topuria vs. Holloway after both of their recent performances. Should Holloway not get the next crack at gold, an immediate rematch for the previous champion Volkanovski is still something "El Matador" sees as worthwhile.

Aside from Holloway, there's Brian Ortega, who recently returned to the win column with a redemptive third-round arm-triangle choke of Yair Rodrguez at UFC Mexico in February — one week after Topuria claimed gold. Ultimately, Topuria sees the options as simple and easy to sort depending on the BMF title's inclusion.

"If [the BMF belt] is not on the line, the only thing that makes it relevant, I would first give Volkanovski the opportunity for a rematch," Topuria said. "Before that, I would fight Brian Ortega, who was much closer to finishing Volkanovski in one fight than Max did in three.

"[Ortega] always puts his face in there and he fights. He has won his last fight, he has several good victories. Would I like to go ahead against him, of course, I would, because right now it's like who but him?"

Champs.Daniel Cormier gives advice to Ilia Topuria after 'not coming off great' in booking first title defense

Adaptation. Tom Aspinall agrees with unhappy U.K. fans about UFC 304 start time: 'I think it is absolutely terrible'

$$$.Arman Tsarukyan, Diego Lopes have pay withheld, face potential discipline after UFC 300 incidents

Commentary.Paul Felder replaces Joe Rogan on UFC 301broadcast team

Options.Charles Oliveira open to 'big fight' at welterweight after UFC 300 loss: 'Why not?'

Future.Paige VanZant reveals she signed multi-fight deal with Misfits Boxing, but BKFC 'will definitely see me again'

Chomp.Igor Severino faces stiffer penalty after Nevada Commission denies 6-month suspension for biting UFC opponent

Confidence.Claressa Shields' takeaway from first 3 MMA fights: 'I have potential to be an MMA champion'

MMA Fighting's Damon Martin chats with Paige VanZant.

Going for a ride.

Embedded 2.

Cruz on 301.

Heck of a Morning.MMA Fighting's Mike Heck discusses how Tom Aspinall is absolutely right about UFC 304; Plus, Jose Aldo's future after UFC 301.

Go to Twitter, use the #MorningReport hashtag, or find one of my tweets with it, and drop me a jam you're currently really into. I'll pick the best one alongside my daily choice and give you a shoutout! You can also share in the comments below — those are just harder to sift through sometimes!

The king hath returned.

Nice to see you again, @JoseAldoJunior ✍️

— UFC (@ufc) April 30, 2024

Celebrate like a champ.

今までのシャンパンファイト の中で飛沫が過去一番満載の画になったけど、主役が後ろ姿!

RIZIN MMAルール:5分 3R(66.0kg)
(WIN) 鈴木千裕 vs. 金原正徳(LOSE)
1R 4分20秒 TKO@Chihiro__0514
Yogibo presents #RIZIN46 有明

— Sachiko HOTAKA 4.29RIZIN.46 有明 保高幸子 (@greco_free) April 30, 2024



If you're looking to go medium blonde then look no further!

Don't act like you didn't make the purchase

— "Wonderboy" Thompson (@WonderboyMMA) May 1, 2024


Concentration …

— Sergei Pavlovich (@SPavlovich13) April 30, 2024


#OnThisDay in 2011, @GeorgesStPierre defended the welterweight throne in Toronto!

Subscribe to @UFCFightPass today to relive more GSP classics!

— UFC Canada (@UFC_CA) April 30, 2024


Horiguchi vs Pettis 2 poster at

— Daniel Dziubicki ポリッシュハンマー (@DDziubicki) April 30, 2024

Andre Lima (8-0) vs. Nyamjargal Tumendemberel (8-0);UFC 302, June 1

Alex Perez (25-8) vs. Tagir Ulanbekov (15-2); UFC Vegas 93, June 15

I think Ilia forgot which sport he's in.

Thanks for reading!

If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also, follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.

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Morning Report: Ilia Topuria has 'no doubt' he'll be 'highest-paid athlete in the world' in 2025 (2024)
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