At UFC 284, Alexander Volkanovski pledges to square off against Islam Makhachev.
After Makhachev submitted Charles Oliveira for the vacant lightweight title this past Saturday at UFC 280, he called in UFC featherweight champion Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC).
Having just finished another opponent with his strong grappling, Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) is eager to defend his title against Volkanovski at UFC 284 in Perth, Australia. In contrast, Volkanovski claims that Makhachev will have no authority over him.
“I feel like he’s sort of underestimating me in a sense,” Volkanovski during a radio interview.
“Where I’m just a featherweight, a small featherweight, how am I going to be able to handle his strength? You know what I mean? That’s how he’s looking at it, which is going to be a shock when we are in that octagon. All week, he might be looking at me thinking I’m small and all that type of stuff, but as soon as I’m in front of him, getting him uncomfortable on the feet, making him want to shoot desperately for a takedown because he’s uncomfortable, then when he tries to grab a hold of me, realizes, ‘Oh sh*t, this short guy isn’t as weak as I thought’ (and) struggles to get me down. Or even if he does get me down, I get straight back up.
“Mentally, he’s breaking. This stuff’s going to get to him, because this is not what he expected. He’s like, ‘How is this little fella doing this?’ And I guarantee you I will. So let’s see how he deals with that. Look, everyone wants to talk about me dealing with him being able to take me down and all that. Trust me: I put myself in this position every camp. That’s the whole point of my training is make me uncomfortable. Put me in the sh*ttiest positions you can. I ain’t going to be fazed by it. I guarantee you I’m getting back up. Let’s see how he deals with a short man getting back to his feet and punching him in the face. That’s what I look forward to seeing. That’s the question that I want to know. I want to see how easily he breaks when things don’t go to plan.”
“I ain’t going to just be standing in front of you,” Volkanovski said.
“You are going to be trying to figure out a puzzle in front of you. The movement’s going to be difficult. You’re going to try and grab a leg and all that type of stuff. But again, you need to be in the right position to feel comfortable to shoot, and he won’t feel that straight away. Then he is going to get a little more desperate to try and grab the legs and all that. And again, this is stuff he hasn’t had to deal with. There’s no way there’s people that have a calculated footwork like I have that he’s faced. There’s no way. So, I can’t wait to put that puzzle in front of him – make him pay, get him uncomfortable.
“And then again, this small-stature, this guy, you know, this is another thing – him calling me short. I don’t think he realizes that that helps me in a situation with someone like him. Let’s be real: The size advantage and that, having that weight is obviously going to be a big factor. But me having this small stature, this stocky build, especially knowing how hard I am to hold down, is going to help me in this situation. Me being like a short, stocky fellow that I am, I’m very hard to hold down. Like, if you get me down – now that obviously I’m going to be training a lot more takedowns, I’m going to be very hard to take down. Usually, I don’t have to worry about that. I know I’m going to get back up. I don’t need to worry about that. Now I’m going to be focusing on that for the next three to four months, you know what I mean? And trust me: I’m going to be very, very, very hard to hold. And that’s something again that he hasn’t really dealt with.”
David Green, an Ohio-based sports reporter, brings his deep expertise in martial arts and riveting storytelling to Boxing.org. His compelling narratives and insightful analysis make him a valuable member of our team, delivering top-quality content to boxing enthusiasts.