Alexander Volkov details difficult journey getting to UFC London from Russia amid ongoing conflict


Alexander Volkov faced a slew of distractions and personal hurdles in the weeks and days leading up to his fight at UFC London as he prepared to travel to the event from his home in Russia.

There was concern that Volkov would not be allowed to fight because of the conflict in Ukraine. This has caused travel disruptions and potential visa problems. Although the UFC tried to bring Volkov to London earlier than he arrived, it turned out that he was having more issues at home.

“The case is that a month and a half before the fight, I got COVID a second time,” Volkov explained at UFC London media day. “So to prepare myself, I needed a full camp and I couldn’t spare even a week without the preparation with a full time, the sparring and everything.

” We are grateful to UFC for helping us to get there earlier, but it was impossible. We were quite sure that we would be able to get here. It turned out to be OK.”

According to Volkov, he would normally only need a few hours in the air to go from Russia to the United Kingdom but there were so many issues surrounding travel out of his home country that it resulted in a long, tumultuous flight.

” It was also a concern of mine,” Volkov stated about UFC London. “We were afraid we wouldn’t be able to pass Russian customs [or] any other customs because as normal people we have no idea what’s happening to the customs. Each day brings new laws.

” The only thing that made me different was the fact that I flew for almost a whole day. Before it was four hours [to travel to London]. Usually, I would be here in four hours but I spent in the flight the same time that I would go to the U.S. and back.”

Volkov is looking at another 24-hour flight just to make it home again after his bout on Saturday but he’s already reconciled with the difficulties he’ll face getting back to Russia.

Aside from dealing with travel problems and a second COVID -19 infection, Volkov had to face the realities that all Russians now have to confront due to the conflict in Ukraine.

Sanctions by governments all over the globe have devasted the Russian economy, and the new laws have effectively ended the independence of the media.

Volkov says he actually took it a step further by just shutting off the news because he had to do his best to stay focused and put all of his attention on the upcoming fight against Tom Aspinall.

” Preparing for the fight can be difficult even without these things,” Volkov stated. The only way that I could prepare for the fight was to turn off all my social media and stop reading them. I stopped reading any news. This was my only method of preparation.

“I would not be able prepare for or to do any training without it. So it’s very hard but being professional and to exclude yourself from all the informational fields is the only way to prepare for the fight.”

Despite these problems, Volkov did not consider pulling out or postponing the matchup.

“Even in hard times, you have to be professional and I was professional,” Volkov said. Volkov said, “I did everything I could in training, preparation and arriving at the UFC to fight. I have to be professional in these circumstances.”

Thanks to all the hard work and effort to get to UFC London, Volkov will be greeted by a raucous and rowdy audience undoubtedly siding with their home country fighter in Aspinall.

That kind of reception might rattle some but Volkov doesn’t expect any different and he’s happy to play the role of the villain in the main event.

” There is always a face and a heel in business, and at the moment I’m the heel. But I love it,” Volkov stated. Volkov said, “Because the fight gets attention, has an story, and has power behind, then I am very happy.

“It’s always great when fans, let’s say are interested in the fight. They don’t want me to lose, they want him to win. It is always good for business. It’s a great idea .”