Morning Report: Alexander Volkanovski promises composure, if Islam Makhachev takes him down: “I won’t panic.”


Alexander Volkanovski is well aware of what he’ll be dealing with on Feb. 11 in Perth, Australia.

UFC 284 helps kick off 2023 with a bang as the promotion’s second PPV event of the year. Atop the night of action in a long-awaited return to Oceania, the featherweight champion looks to claim dual-division titleholder status by dethroning recently crowned lightweight kingpin Islam Makhachev.

Makhachev has been a dominant force throughout his MMA career thus far with only one loss on his 24-fight resume. Dagestan’s native wrestler has shown a similar skill to Khabib Nurmagomedov, his mentor and coach. The Russian masters in sport, Sambo, have no secrets about what they are looking to accomplish and Volkanovski says he will be better prepared than any other person who has faced such unique challenges.

“A lot of people just prevent getting there [on the ground],” Volkanovski said on the Believe You Me podcast. It’s okay if they don’t get there. But I have to be ready and prepared for it if it goes there. He might be able to take down the opponent, and if he does, it’s possible that he will get some nice travel. I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t, I’m working everything right now. If it happens, you can be sure that I’ll be calm, composed and focused. I won’t panic if I have to. You won’t see me lose composure, nothing like that because the amount of hours I’m doing, that’s why I’m so calm. It’s not that preparation isn’t important, but that many people aren’t prepared how they should.

“A lot of people are like, ‘Ah, I won’t get there.’ But what if you do? Be ready. Other than me. He knows what he wants. So, even if he does get me there, I’m gonna be more than prepared, more than ready.”

Champion vs. champion fights are always a relatively big deal and feel more special than your regular title fight. Especially when, in this case, the top 2 pound-for-pound fighters in the official UFC rankings are colliding.

Volkanovski is currently at No. 1 on the list after collecting four title defenses with zero losses dating back to his fourth pro fight, which was at welterweight. The 25-1 “Great” is no stranger to the lightweight waters, having fought there five times. His last appearance at the weight came in Nov. 2016 in his UFC debut against Yusuke Kasuya — a bout that also took place in his home of Australia.

While the idea of the titleholders going at each other along with the top spot pound-for pound is enough to motivate, Volkanovski is really motivated by his underdog status in the face of a rising new champion.

“It was Islam, people saying that to me, you know. I loved people who doubted me, and they said, “Ah, yeah. He’s too big, too powerful’, and all that,” Volkanovski stated. This challenge, this opponent, excites me even more.

” I think that going after this champ-champ is the best thing people will do. Again, a lot of people think he’s unstoppable right now, but I’m gonna show you that he is stoppable. I can’t wait to go out there and do my thing.”


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Marcin Tybura (23-7) vs. Blagoy Ivanov (19-4); UFC Vegas 68, Feb. 4

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I’m extremely excited for Makhachev vs. Volkanovski. As I’m sure the reoccurring readers know, it seems I believe it will be more competitive than most do. Trust me, I was there for quite a while. I had Volkanovski in my mind almost up to the Ortega fight. I’m not saying he’ll win this one (yet), but I’m definitely not counting the man out anymore. It doesn’t matter if it’s not in his primary weight category.

No Morning Report for Monday due to the holidays. We wish everyone a safe and happy weekend. Stay warm and thanks for reading.


If you find something you’d like to see in the Morning Report, hit up @DrakeRiggs_ on Twitter and let him know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and like us on Facebook.