Alexander Volkanovski (26-3 MMA, 13-2 UFC) may have lost to Islam Makhachev by way of knockout in the first round of their fight at UFC 294 in October, but the reigning UFC feathwerweight champion thinks that he’s had plenty of time to prepare for his upcoming title defense against Ilia Topuria (14-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) at UFC 298 in February.
“He’s a good matchup,” Volkanovski said on an episode of Michael Bisbing’s podcast. “A lot of hype around him, undefeated, I think this is just the perfect bounce-back fight for me, as well. A lot of people are saying he’s dangerous, which look, he is dangerous. He’s a powerful dude. He’s undefeated. That’s a story in itself. You’ve got the story of what happened in my last fight. People are like, ‘Oh, is he coming back too soon?’ All this is a part of the story. When I look at it, I’m like, ‘Mate, I’ve been in camp for that long. I’m hearing people saying, Oh, he’s back too soon.’ I just can’t see it.
“I’ve been busting my ass for that long. I’m like, ‘What do you mean?’ Like, I’ve had that much time. This has been a very long camp for me. Obviously I followed all the protocols after it from concussion and that like, I’m lucky enough to have a great team around me. But we followed that to a T, and that’s why the fight was pushed back a month because we just thought January was rushing. We wanted that extra month where I could ease into it and then start camp. That’s what we did.”
Although Volk seemed emotional in his UFC 294 post-fight interview, stating that he took the rematch with Makhachev on such short notice because he “needed a fight” and that he was “doing [his] head in” when he wasn’t fighting, Volk clarified what he meant by these comments as he finishes preparing for his fight with Topuria.
“I’m not doing this just to get my head right,” Volkanovski continued. “I’m doing this because I want to be active. I want to be busy, and I know it’s enough time. A lot of people are going to sit there and say there’s the mental side of things and I get that, but I’m just different. I go into every fight like I’m a pretty confident guy where I believe the only chance a lot of these guys that I fight have of beating me is by catching me.
“So it’s not like, ‘Oh, he got finished, now he’s going to second guess.’ I always fight smart. I always try and be calculated. If I lose, a good chance of that happening is from getting caught. I’m aware of that. I’ve always been that through my whole career. Nothing has changed for me, even in the gym, in sparring. … It’s just another camp. Busting my ass, pull myself through the wringer like I always do, and that’s just that.”
Volkanovski will take on Topuria at UFC 298 on February 17th at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
What do you think about the fact that Alexander Volkanovski says he’s had plenty of time to prepare since his defeat for UFC 298? Do you think the four months he will have had off is enough time to have arecovered since his KO loss at the hands of Islam Makhachev at UFC 294? Let us know in the comments.