Alexander Volkanovski couldn’t offer any definitive updates about his potential showdown with lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 in Australia. He promises that the fight will take place as planned in February.
Following an octagon faceoff after Makhachev captured the title at UFC 280, Volkanovski appeared a lock to challenge the new champion. Volkanovski then posted on Twitter, “Are You a Man of Your Word, Islam Makhachev?” Let’s make it happen!”
The second I receive the paper, I will sign it, don’t worry enjoy your P4P first spot for now https://t.co/7J4kUCKuE5
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 4, 2022
In response, Makhachev wrote, “the second I receive the paper, I will sign it, don’t worry. For now, enjoy your first [pound-for-pound] spot. Makhachev then added, “I’m not sure what UFC wants, February-Australia or March-Vegas, I honestly don’t care about location and opponent, I never choose opponents. Just send a contract and stop playing games.”
I’m not certain what UFC is looking for, either February Australia or March Vegas. I don’t really care about the opponent and location, as I have never chosen my opponents. Just send a contract and stop playing games
— Makhachev Islam (@MAKHACHEVMMA) November 5, 2022
On Thursday Volkanovski made vague remarks about the exchange, but did not go into detail about his original message to Makhachev.
” We’re going make it happen,” said he. “Don’t worry about that. Australia needs a big fight. It would be awesome to just defend, but it would be amazing if I could win the lightweight title.
” That’s what I intend to do. It was just for fun that I tweeted it. It’s .”
Nothing has been officially made by UFC so it is possible Volkanovski poked fun at Makhachev via social media.
Despite any potential concerns, Volkanovski fully expects the UFC to deliver the Makhachev fight to him as the headliner for the promotion’s upcoming return to Perth in February as he seeks to become a two-division champion.
“Ofcourse, that’s our plan,” he said. “I want to go champ-champ, and I deserve it, and a lot of people agree. It’s a dream come true. It’s fired me right up. It’s not a difficult task, but it is a challenge. This is what excites and motivates me. It’s a challenge I know I’m ready for. I just had Craig Jones here yesterday doing wrestling. I’m keen. I’m bulking. I’m eating a lot of calories at the moment so it is good. I’m enjoying it. It’s going to be a very stacked fight night.
“We’re looking at Perth. You just need to sign it and make this happen. We will. We will.
Makhachev’s coach and friend Khabib Nurmagomedov initially called for the Volkanovski fight just moments after the UFC 280 main event ended, which prompted the Australian featherweight to enter the cage for a brief face-to-face confrontation.
From there it appeared to be a foregone conclusion that Volkanovski would move up to 155 pounds to challenge Makhachev, and that’s what he’s been preparing for ever since. In fact, he said he’s eating over 4,000 calories per day so his body will be prepared for bigger opposition at lightweight.
Volkanovski is also dedicating a lot of time to his wrestling, takedown defense and scrambling free from positions on the ground as he gets ready to face Makhachev, who happens to be one of the most suffocating grapplers in the sport.
“Going back in, I prepare for him to bring me down,” Volkanovski said. So that is how I mentally prepare. Although I do this all the time, there are so many steps before I get there. It will be difficult to get me to where I want to go. It’s difficult to get down on your back flat. I’m very good at scrambling and again, these short legs are very hard to hold down, especially when I do so many weeks of just that.
” Let’s face it, we all know that he is game. You say, “You need to take your time.” I can do that. You’re now giving me two options to continue drilling this kind of stuff
In his win over Charles Oliveira in October, Makhachev proved that he’s not a one-trick pony because while he finished the fight with a submission on the ground, he actually hurt the Brazilian in several striking exchanges on the feet.
Volkanovski would love to test the theory that Makhachev is a complete mixed martial artist, because he doesn’t expect very much of their potential fight to take place on the canvas.
“People want to say he’s well rounded and things like that — we’ll see if he’s well rounded,” Volkanovski said. Because I am getting back on my feet. Let’s see if his stand-up is up to what supposedly people are trying to say.
“Well-rounded? We’ll see. Because it’s going to be stand-up. Because I am getting back on my feet .”