Alexander Volkanovski is coming off a big TKO win over Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290, an opponent he considered “one of the most dangerous fighters he’s fought,” but he’s not making plans to rest on his laurels anytime soon.
Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC), the reigning UFC featherweight champion, already has his next two opponents in mind: the 14-0 Ilia Topuria and a rematch with the UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev.
“You got the Ilia fight that’s always going to be there,” Volkanovski said backstage during UFC 293. “You got that rematch that I want (vs. Makhachev). I want to be active. Obviously, Islam and Charles (Oliveira) are going at it soon, so I don’t want to be waiting around.
“So, I’ll do early next year, I think. I wanted this year, but I think the schedule is just not going to be able to fit me in. I think there’s a few champions that need to be fighting, which is fair, but I would’ve been happy to get one in this year.”
Volkanovski and Mackhachev’s first encounter was a competitive, five-round superfight that saw both fighters adequately tested both standing and on the ground. As we said in our last analysis of the fight:
“The two engaged in a skillful, five-round war that saw Makhachev’s seemingly indomitable grappling game fractured by Volkanovski’s unwavering will, cardio and wrestling defense and Volkanovki’s stellar stand-up game tested by Makhachev’s sniper-like striking precision and careful countering. Makhachev would end up winning the fight by unanimous decision, though it’s one that will surely be contentious among fight fans and analysts alike until another meeting between the two can potentially clarify a more decisive victor.”
Volkanovski has said he’d like to face Makhachev again, whether the latter wins in his rematch against Charles Oliveira to successfully defend the UFC lightweight title at UFC 292 or not.
“I think [the fight] makes a lot of sense,” Volkanovski said. “Yeah, for sure. I think that would be great, especially with me getting my hand raised on that one for UFC 300 would be perfect, but again, we will see what we can do. But I think that’s one of the bigger fights that you can make. I truly do believe that. A lot of people want to see that again. It was very, very competitive, and I guarantee you I get it done next time.”
Are you looking forward to an Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev rematch? Or would you rather see both fighters take on different opponents? Let us know in the comments.