Alexander Volkanovski was determined to show Islam Makhachev that he can be defeated: “I am already twice as strong as I used to be”


Alexander Volkanovski will check off a lot of boxes if he defeats Islam Makhachev at UFC 284.

With victory at the February 12 Pay-per-View in Perth, Australia Volkanovski would win the UFC lightweight title, earn champion-champ status and take down a No. 1 contender. 2 in the MMA Pound-for-Pound Rankings.

It’s that last achievement on the list that has Volkanovski particularly excited about his next fight, especially given Makhachev’s perceived invincibility and close ties with lightweight legend Khabib Nurmagomedov.

“I don’t mean any disrespect, but this fight is very important to me,” Volkanovski stated on Michael Bisping’s Believe You Me podcast. “It’s the Dagestani wrestling, no one can figure this out, they’re on a roll and all that. Khabib’s there. Islam. This is what he has been fighting for his last fights. All of that. I was chasing the champ-champ, that’s what motivated me before I knew who I was fighting. As soon as Islam won and the people talked, something was just like, bang, that’s all that I cared about is taking out Islam.

” It wasn’t disrespect. This made the fight even more exciting. This is how I will achieve this goal. Not only am I the champ-champ but also having two belts. It’s, while doing that, taking out someone like Islam. A featherweight will move up to lightweight, and then fight any other lightweight. You’ll be Dagestani-wrestling Islam, who is known for walking and controlling and throwing around lightweights. ‘How’s Alex going to deal with that?’

” This just means that when I raise my hand, it makes the fight so much more intense. That’s the thing that motivates me now. The fight. It’s going to be extra special getting both belts on them shoulders, but [also] who I’m taking out in the process.”

Volkanovski dispelled any doubts about his status as one of MMA’s most respected champions. He launched a 2022 campaign in which he defeated “The Korean Zombie”, Chan Sung Jung, and then closed out a three-fight series against Max Holloway.

Since joining the UFC in 2016, Volkanovski has compiled a 12-0 record and won 22 straight fights overall. He has no reservations about putting those pristine numbers on the line against Makhachev.

“Do I think this is going to be easy? Volkanovski stated, “No.” Volkanovski said, “Is there a lot to prepare for it?” Yeah, it does, definitely. It is a challenge. But just because it’s a challenge, should I protect my record, protect this pound-for-pound spot, do all this? Nah.

” Take it on. It’s going to make you a better fighter, and honestly, I’ve still got under eight weeks left and I’m already twice the fighter I was, just because of how I’m taking this fight. I’m stronger than I’ve ever been.”

As he takes on a challenge in a higher weight class, the featherweight division continues to move with Yair Rodriguez vs. Josh Emmett set for an interim title bout at UFC 284. One could wonder if Volkanovski should jump to face Makhachev, rather than defending his title at featherweight.

This question makes Volkanovski even more excited for the clash of champions.

“Pound for pound and all of that, it was really good, champchamp,” Volkanovski stated. But I really chased him, because it’s easy to knock off your goals. What’s the next? Champ-champ’s Next? Then, as soon as Islam came along and people were telling me, I loved people doubting my abilities.

” People say things like “He’s too big, too powerful,” and other similar statements. It’s the challenge and who I have to defeat, that excite me even more. Going for this champ-champ and taking out someone like Islam is really what people are going to remember. A lot of people think he’s unstoppable right now, but I’m going to show you that he is stoppable and I can’t wait to go out there and do my thing.”