Why is Alexander Volkanovski Stop Playing?

Mike Pedersen


Alexander Volkanovski, a name that has become synonymous with Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) excellence, made a bold and life-altering decision at the age of 23. In the latter half of 2011, he chose to walk away from his rugby league career and embark on a journey in the world of MMA.

This decision, while unexpected for many, laid the foundation for his remarkable rise to the top of the sport. We will delve into the intriguing question: why did Alexander Volkanovski quit playing rugby league? By exploring his passion for MMA.

The greater opportunities that awaited him, his physical attributes and skill set, as well as his personal goals and aspirations, we aim to uncover the driving forces behind his pivotal decision.

Volkanovski’s journey serves as a testament to the power of following one’s passion and taking calculated risks to pursue greatness in a different arena.

Passion for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA)

Volkanovski’s Passion for Mma

From an early age, Alexander Volkanovski exhibited a deep-rooted passion for Mixed Martial Arts (MMA). While he had a successful rugby league career, his heart yearned for the thrill and challenges that MMA presented.

Volkanovski was captivated by the multifaceted nature of the sport, where a combination of striking, grappling, and strategic thinking came together to create an electrifying spectacle.

The intensity and technicality of MMA resonated with him on a profound level, igniting a fire within him to pursue this new endeavor.

Desire to Dedicate Himself to Training and Competing in MMA

For Volkanovski, MMA was more than just a hobby or an occasional interest. It was a calling that demanded his full dedication and commitment.

By quitting rugby league, he could fully immerse himself in the world of MMA, honing his skills, refining his techniques, and pushing his physical and mental boundaries.

Volkanovski understood that to achieve success in MMA, he needed to invest extensive time and effort into training, conditioning, and studying the intricacies of the sport.

By leaving rugby league behind, he could allocate his entire focus to MMA, sparing no ounce of energy in pursuit of his dreams.

The decision to quit rugby league was driven by his unwavering determination to leave no stone unturned in his quest to excel in the realm of MMA.

Greater Opportunities in Mma

Opportunities and Success in MMA Vs. Rugby League

When Alexander Volkanovski contemplated his future, he recognized that MMA offered greater opportunities and potential for success compared to rugby league.

While rugby league provided a platform for him to showcase his skills, MMA presented a wider array of avenues to rise to the top. In rugby league, success was often limited to national or regional recognition, whereas MMA opened the doors to international acclaim and global recognition.

The reach and popularity of MMA on a global scale meant that Volkanovski could compete against elite fighters from around the world and potentially secure higher-profile matches and championships.

The allure of achieving greatness on an international stage propelled him to choose MMA as his path forward.

International Exposure and Recognition in MMA

One of the key factors that influenced Volkanovski’s decision to quit rugby league was the prospect of international exposure and recognition in the realm of MMA.

Unlike rugby league, which had limited international exposure, MMA had a global fan base and offered opportunities to compete on renowned platforms such as the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC).

By transitioning to MMA, Volkanovski could showcase his skills and abilities to a vast audience worldwide.

This exposure not only elevated his profile as a fighter but also increased his chances of securing lucrative sponsorship deals and endorsements.

The international recognition that came with competing in MMA provided Volkanovski with a broader scope to make a name for himself and solidify his place among the elite fighters in the world.

Physical Attributes and Skill Set

Volkanovski’s Physical Attributes Suited for Mma

Alexander Volkanovski possessed a set of physical attributes that made him well-suited for the demands of MMA. His natural athleticism and disciplined training regimen played a crucial role in his success.

Standing at 5’6″ with a compact and muscular build, Volkanovski possessed a low center of gravity, which provided him with excellent balance and stability in the cage. This physical attribute allowed him to execute explosive strikes and swift takedowns with precision.

Strength, Agility, and Wrestling Background of Volkanovski

Volkanovski’s exceptional strength was a key component of his fighting style. He possessed tremendous power in his strikes and was known for his ability to generate significant force behind his punches and kicks.

This strength also translated to his grappling and wrestling game, enabling him to overpower opponents in clinches and takedowns.

In addition to strength, Volkanovski showcased remarkable agility and quickness. His ability to swiftly evade strikes and counter with devastating combinations was a testament to his agility and excellent footwork.

He had a knack for finding angles and exploiting openings, which made him a formidable and elusive opponent.

Furthermore, Volkanovski’s background in wrestling proved to be a significant advantage in MMA. His wrestling skills provided him with a strong foundation for controlling opponents on the ground and securing dominant positions.

This background also enhanced his takedown defense, enabling him to thwart opponents’ attempts to bring the fight to the mat.

Overall, Volkanovski’s physical attributes, including his strength, agility, and wrestling background, synergistically contributed to his success in the MMA arena.

These attributes allowed him to excel in various aspects of the sport, making him a well-rounded and formidable competitor.

Personal Goals and Aspirations

Volkanovski’s Personal Goals and Aspirations in Mma

Alexander Volkanovski’s decision to quit rugby league and pursue a career in MMA was driven by his personal goals and aspirations within the sport. He had a burning desire to achieve greatness and make a mark in the world of MMA.

Volkanovski set ambitious goals for himself, envisioning championship titles and recognition as one of the best fighters in his weight class. His competitive spirit and unwavering belief in his abilities fueled his pursuit of these goals.

Desire to Prove Himself in a New Sport and Challenge Himself

Quitting rugby league to pursue MMA was not merely about seeking success; it was also about embracing a new challenge and pushing himself to new limits.

Volkanovski wanted to test himself in a different athletic realm, one that demanded different skills, strategies, and mental fortitude. By transitioning to MMA, he willingly stepped into the unknown, ready to face the challenges and obstacles that came with it.

This desire to prove himself in a new sport demonstrated his resilience, determination, and willingness to take risks to achieve personal growth and fulfillment.

Volkanovski’s decision to leave behind the familiarity of rugby league and venture into the competitive world of MMA was motivated by his personal goals and a deep-rooted desire to challenge himself in a new athletic pursuit.

This relentless pursuit of personal excellence and the hunger to prove himself served as powerful driving forces in his journey to become one of the most accomplished fighters in the MMA landscape.

Additional Factors Influencing the Decision

Potential Financial Incentives in Mma

Another factor that likely influenced Alexander Volkanovski’s decision to quit rugby league and pursue MMA was the potential for financial incentives. While rugby league offered its own financial rewards, the lucrative nature of MMA, particularly at the highest level such as the UFC, was enticing.

MMA, with its global reach and larger fan base, presented opportunities for higher purses, performance bonuses, and endorsement deals.

The potential to earn a substantial income through fighting and sponsorship opportunities likely factored into Volkanovski’s decision to switch sports and pursue a career in MMA.

Longevity and Potential Career Opportunities in Mma

Volkanovski may have also considered the longevity and potential career opportunities available in MMA. While rugby league careers can be physically demanding and relatively short-lived, MMA fighters often have the potential for longer careers if they manage their training, injuries, and overall health effectively.

By transitioning to MMA, Volkanovski may have seen an opportunity to extend his athletic career and capitalize on the longer-term possibilities within the sport.

Additionally, the broader landscape of MMA offered potential career opportunities beyond fighting, such as coaching, broadcasting, and entrepreneurship, which may have factored into his decision-making process.

Considering these additional factors, it becomes evident that the potential financial incentives and the longevity of a career in MMA were factors that played a role in Alexander Volkanovski’s decision to quit rugby league and pursue his ambitions in the world of mixed martial arts.

Factors Influencing Alexander Volkanovski’s Decision to Quit Rugby League and Pursue MMA

Passion for MMAVolkanovski’s deep-rooted passion for the multifaceted nature of MMA, driving his desire to pursue a career in the sport.
Greater opportunities in MMAComparison of the potential for success and international exposure in MMA versus rugby league.
Physical attributes suited for MMADiscussion of Volkanovski’s physical attributes, including strength, agility, and wrestling background.
Personal goals and aspirations in MMAExploration of Volkanovski’s personal goals and ambitions within the realm of MMA.
Desire to prove himself and embrace challengeVolkanovski’s motivation to prove himself in a new sport, testing his skills and pushing his boundaries.
Potential financial incentives in MMAThe potential for higher earnings through fighting, endorsements, and sponsorships in MMA compared to rugby league.
Longevity and potential career opportunitiesConsideration of the potential for a longer athletic career and diverse career prospects in the MMA industry.


Was it a difficult decision for Alexander Volkanovski to leave rugby league?

While it’s difficult to ascertain the exact emotions Volkanovski experienced, making the decision to leave a sport he had dedicated himself to can undoubtedly be challenging. However, his passion for MMA and the potential opportunities it offered likely played a significant role in solidifying his choice.

Did Alexander Volkanovski face any criticism or skepticism for transitioning to MMA?

It’s common for athletes transitioning between sports to face some level of skepticism or criticism. However, Volkanovski’s success in MMA has proven his critics wrong. His achievements and rise to become the UFC Featherweight Champion have silenced any doubts that may have existed initially.

How did Alexander Volkanovski’s background in rugby league influence his MMA career?

Volkanovski’s background in rugby league provided him with a foundation of physicality, discipline, and competitive drive. These attributes likely played a role in his success in MMA, contributing to his work ethic, mental toughness, and overall athleticism.

Did Alexander Volkanovski face any challenges transitioning from rugby league to MMA?

Transitioning between sports can present its own set of challenges. While specific details about Volkanovski’s personal challenges are not widely known, adapting to the different training methods, techniques, and fighting styles in MMA may have required adjustments and additional learning.

Did Alexander Volkanovski ever regret his decision to leave rugby league for MMA?

It is challenging to determine whether Alexander Volkanovski ever experienced regret over his decision. However, considering his remarkable success in MMA, including winning the UFC Featherweight title, it appears that he made the right choice for his career and personal fulfillment.

Has Alexander Volkanovski’s decision to pursue MMA inspired other athletes to make similar career transitions?

Volkanovski’s success story and his decision to transition from rugby league to MMA have undoubtedly served as an inspiration for other athletes considering a change in sports. His achievements have demonstrated that with dedication, passion, and hard work, it is possible to find success and fulfillment in a different athletic pursuit.


Alexander Volkanovski’s decision to quit rugby league and pursue a professional career in MMA was driven by a combination of factors. His passion for MMA, coupled with a desire to fully dedicate himself to training and competing in the sport, set him on a new path.

The greater opportunities and international exposure offered by MMA, compared to rugby league, were additional motivating factors. Volkanovski’s physical attributes, including strength, agility, and wrestling background, made him well-suited for success in MMA.

Furthermore, his personal goals, aspirations, and the challenge of proving himself in a new sport propelled him forward. The potential financial incentives and longevity of a career in MMA also influenced his decision.

Through his journey, Volkanovski exemplifies the power of following one’s passion, taking risks, and embracing new challenges to achieve greatness in a different arena.

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Mike Pedersen

I'm a sports researcher and writer. I have been involved in sports writing for the last 10 years, so I can help you with your content writing needs. I have experience in sports writing and research as well as copywriting. I also have experience in producing content for digital platforms such as websites and social media channels. But my field of love is Boxing. LinkedIn

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