Alexander Volkanovski may be moving up a weight class to face Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title at UFC 284 but he doesn’t see the bump up in weight to fight the bigger opponent as a detriment. Instead, the featherweight champion (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC), who fought once before at 170 pounds back in 2013, sees the weight gain as a boon.
“Islam’s strong,” Volkanovski said on his YouTube channel. “Islam’s going to be ready. But I guarantee you, mark my words, I’m going to be ready. I’m going to be more than ready. I’m going to be fit, I’m going to be stronger than ever. I’m already filling up. I’m already holding more muscle than I originally did in my last few fights. I’m already stronger, significantly stronger.”
Volkanovski, who is currently on a 12-fight-win streak and has been designated as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC, doesn’t have an easy task in Makhachev, who is the #2 rated pound-for-pound fighter and recently defeated former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira in the second round of their bout at UFC 280 via submission, snapping Oliveira’s 11-fight-win streak. Still, Volkanovski remains adamant that the best is still yet to come in his UFC career.
“When I’m telling you 2023 is gonna be the biggest year of my whole career, my legacy – this is the defining year,” Volkanovski added. “2023, it starts off with taking out Islam. Big opportunity to not only be great, but to be one of the greatest. So, that’s what I’m coming for.”
UFC Hall of Famer and current commentator Daniel Cormier, on the other hand, believes that Volkanovski beating Makhachev would be the biggest UFC upset ever.
Former Strikeforce lightweight champion Josh Thomson, though not as hyperbolic in his opinion, shares in Cormier’s sentiment that Volkanovski is not the man to beat Makhachev, but rather Beneil Dariush is.
Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev will square off in the main event of UFC 284 at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia on February 12th.
What do you think of the statement that Alexander Volkanovski is ‘stronger than ever’ for the Islam Makhachev fight? Are you looking forward to the UFC 284 main event? Let us know in the comments.