Alexander Volkanovski: Islam Makhachev is a weak man for saying that he was crazy to want to become a ‘champ-champ.


Alexander Volkanovski is well aware of the inherent risks that come along with moving up a division to challenge a dominant champion like Islam Makhachev.

Volkanovski is entering his UFC 284 fight as an underdog for the first time in his career since becoming a featherweight champion. He’s facing physical challenges unlike anything he’s dealt with previously in the octagon, not to mention a ground attack from Dagestani wrestler who came up under arguably the greatest lightweight fighter in history in Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Despite all that, Volkanovski not only accepted the challenge but sought it out, and he takes issue with Makhachev criticizing him for even attempting it.

” I love to challenge myself,” Volkanovski stated at UFC 284 press conference. I love being in that position. That is what I believe everyone should do in their lives. If you want to be successful, challenge yourself. You will be stronger for it, I promise.

” I’m twice as strong now than I was when I began this camp. I had to face the challenges ahead. The challenge is not scary to me. I know I can rise to the occasion. It will make me stronger. This is what people will always remember. These moments.

“He will sit back and claim that I am crazy for taking the initiative and doing so, but I find that it is weak to look at it this way. It is important to challenge your self. You should put yourself in these positions. Don’t look at what might happen if things go wrong — let’s look at what happens if things go right. Sunday, it’s going to go right and I’m going to be champ-champ.”

Volkanovski heard Makhachev say plenty of things in the lead up to their fight, and while he’s not exactly using it all as fuel, throwing a little extra gasoline on the fire never hurts.

” He doesn’t seem to respect me as an enemy, Volkanovski stated. “He’s thinking that I’m going to be easy. He should have done his homework like us. This is two of the best going at it and I’m going to prove I am the best and I’m going show you why I deserve that No. 1 pound-for-pound.”

While Volkanovski enjoyed the raucous audience in Australia, Makhachev was unable to answer with any sincere smile and he received boos every time he reached for the microphone.

Makhachev disputed the story that he didn’t respect Volkanovski. However, he still believes that Volkanovski is eating more than he can chew.

“Because he is the champion, and this is 155 [pounds]- this area is not his,” Makhachev stated. “This is other power, other division, I’m going to beat him easy.

“Of course, I respect him. He’s [No. 1] pound-for-pound, but many people say Islam is the best fighter in the world right now, and Sunday morning I’m going to show you why the people think this.”

As great as Volkanovski has been during his undefeated run through the UFC, Makhachev believes he’s completely different than any of the past opponents who have faced the 34-year-old Australian.

“Alexis good,” Makhachev stated. Alex is great everywhere, but I’m different. I have a different style. Like all of his opponents. Like [‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung], I’m not going to go crazy straight. He just followed his lead, [Max] Holloway. There are other plans, but I follow them and defeat my enemy .”


Volkanovski will not argue that Makhachev is his strongest and most difficult opponent to date. But that’s what motivated him to take up this fight.

As the old saying goes, “Nothing great comes easy” and Volkanovski would not have it any other.

” I am the underdog, but I believe in people who doubt me,” Volkanovski stated. Volkanovski said, “I always prove them wrong and that I will do the same on Sunday.”

“Champchamp, with all due respect to Islam to remove the belt from him, it will be an amazing feat. It’s important that people understand what I am trying to accomplish .”