UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has shifted his energy toward getting a rematch with lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev after coming up short on the scorecards at UFC 284.
Volkanovski believes he won Rounds 2, 3 and 5 of this past Saturday’s title superfight and said the result didn’t settle the pound-for-pound debate it started. Makhachev earned a unanimous decision by scores of 48-47 twice and 49-46 to defend the lightweight title in Perth, Australia.
“A lot of people thought I won that fight, I thought I won that fight, and I moved up,” Volkanovski said Monday on The MMA Hour. “We’re talking about pound-for-pound. Think about if you were both in the same weight category. Although I wouldn’t like to be him, if he were a featherweight in his division I would squash him. It is a breeze. No offense to him, but that’s legit.
“I think I still proved I’m the better fighter and I’m pound-for-pound No. 1. However, that is not my responsibility .”
As confident as Volkanovski was in victory, he claimed the lightweight champion wasn’t confident in his immediately after the fight.
” He thought that he may have lost,” said the featherweight champion. “He was even saying, ‘We need to do a rematch’ to his corner when he went back to his corner. He didn’t say loss, but I mean, he thought, ‘We need to do the rematch’ thinking that I was going to get my hand raised.
“Then he ended up telling people in the media backstage that he wants a rematch anyway. He knows. I’m not taking anything away – it was a close fight.”
Makhachev denied Volkanovski’s account of his words after the final bell. He said his win established him as the best fighter in the world. But according to Volkanovski, the lightweight champ and UFC are in his corner on the possibility of a rematch, though no formal negotiations have taken place.
Volkanovski isn’t the type to declare his place in the sport. He believes that a different group of judges could have just as easily declared him winner, but he feels the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter.
Makhachev is welcome to correct him, however. As to whether that happens, Volkanovski is cautiously optimistic. He spent much of his career trying to convince fans of his superiority after a pair of close fights with now-former champ Max Holloway, and he believes Makhachev will want the same.
Whatever happens next will reveal the Dagestani champ’s character, he said.
” I think it depends upon him,” Volkanovski stated. “He knows that this is going to leave a bad taste in a lot of people’s mouths. I’ve been there before. It’s what I feel, and he will want to share it with others. I would if I was in his position. I wouldn’t be happy with that. … We know why .”
he does not have it.