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. The Dagestan native has replicated a similarly imposing wrestling game to his longtime teammate, friend, and mentor turned coach, the division’s former champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. When it comes to the Russian masters of sport in Sambo, there’s no secret to what they want to do and Volkanovski promises he’ll be more prepared than anyone who’s faced these types of unique challenges.
“A lot of people just prevent getting there [on the ground],” Volkanovski said on the Believe You Me podcast. “I’m like, if the fight doesn’t go there, that’s a bonus, but I need to be prepared and ready for if it does go there because there’s a good chance. There’s a good chance he might get the takedown, he might get a nice trip, whatever it is. I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t, I’m working everything right now. But if it does, I guarantee you this; I’m gonna be composed, I’m gonna be calm and I’m gonna be fighting my ass off to get back to my feet and I will not panic. 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. Preparation is everything, it’s just that a lot of people don’t prepare how they should.
“A lot of people are like, ‘Ah, I won’t get there.’ But what if you do? Be ready. Except for me. We know what he wants to do. 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 aspect of two titleholders going at it along with the top pound-for-pound spot on the line is motivation enough, Volkanovski’s underdog status against a surging new champion is what’s really helping drive him.
“As soon as it was Islam and people telling me that — you know, I love people doubting me — saying, ‘Ah, yeah, he’s gonna be too big, too strong,’ and all this,” Volkanovski said. “This challenge, the opponent that I’ve got, that excites me more.
“I think going for this champ-champ and taking out someone like Islam is really what people are going to sort of remember. 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.”
Stories. Doug Crosby attempted to explain judging at Las Vegas MMA gyms. It did not go well, several say
Goals. Zion Clark reacts to win in MMA debut, promises this is just the start: ‘I want a belt’
MMA Fighting’s Damon Martin chats with Zion Clark.
Crazy UFC fifth-round title finishes in 2022.
Best 2022 UFC knockouts.
Sadibou Sy’s big return home.
Cejudo’s best reactions.
Between the Links. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck and Alexander K. Lee discusses 2022 MMA award winners.
Heck of a Morning. MMA Fighting’s Mike Heck reacts to another UFC pay-per-view price hike, Dillon Danis vs. Ariel Helwani.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
A really solid fighter this guy is! Stability. Himself and @stylebender is one hell of a rivalry! I can’t wait to see it unfold! Izzy so close each time. No time limit and Izzy still has that belt. Excited for their forthcoming! Team @ParadigmSports all the way! https://t.co/qxjy2XFW7W— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) December 22, 2022
Meanwhile a bum whose claim to fame is being Conor’s friend is making a bigger purse to box a YouTuber than all current UFC champions.— Jake Paul (@jakepaul) December 22, 2022
UFC makes almost $500 million a year. If they were to increase minimum fighter pay to $50K per fight, at most it will cost them $20 million. https://t.co/QeDyfamCPV
All the @BellatorMMA champions who will carry their belt into 2023 + their record inside the Bellator cage :— BellatorZone (@bellatorzone) December 22, 2022
[ic] Stots (7-0)
[ic] Storley (9-1)
Bader (8-2) pic.twitter.com/lyDiTKprar
A little light.
WIN FORMER CHAMPION’S SIGNED GLOVES!— UFC Collectibles (@UFCCollectible) December 22, 2022
Former strawweight champion @joannamma has signed these official UFC gloves!
Win this pair by following @UFCCollectible, comment #winterweighin and tag two friends!
More prizes tomorrow! Winner announced Dec 28th! #UFC pic.twitter.com/k5G4JHle2u
Unfortunately due to injury, I’ve had to pull out of my up coming fight in Perth. I’m gutted I won’t be able to fight in front of everyone in Aus. To everyone who supports me, Im sorry. This has been frustrating but i know I’m making the right decision.Much respect @alexperezMMA pic.twitter.com/uw7VBIGcX0— Kai Kara France (@kaikarafrance) December 22, 2022
Alex Perez about to lose his place— マネル・ケイプ Manel Kape (@ManelKape) December 23, 2022
MMA isn’t serious.
This sequence from the Irish media coverage of the McGregor/Lobov court case is incredible pic.twitter.com/z1bBqEH9nl— Out Of Context MMA (@oocmma) December 22, 2022
when Bobby Knuckles and Kai Kara France fall off UFC 284 in Australia and the UFC still hikes the PPV price again the next day: pic.twitter.com/45seUlLMtw— MacMally (@MacMallyMMA) December 23, 2022
Words of wisdom.
To change your life, you need to change your priorities.— Gary Goodridge (@garyhgoodridge) December 23, 2022
Julian Marquez (9-3) VS. Marc-André Barriault (14-6); UFC 285, March 4
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. I did it for a while though, trust me; I counted out Volkanovski probably about up until the Ortega fight. I’m not saying he’ll win this one (yet), but I’m definitely not counting the man out anymore. Even if it isn’t in his primary weight class.
No Morning Report for Monday due to the holidays. Hope everyone has a good and safe weekend! Stay warm and thanks for reading.
Is Volkanovski’s only hope to prevent the takedown against Makhachev?
This poll is closed