Alexander Volkanovski has hinted at a potential move up in weight class to challenge for the lightweight gold

Alexander Volkanovski absolutely bulldozered, dismantled and razed Max Holloways’ challenge to the ground at UFC 276. The champion looked like a much improved, and refined fighter from the get-go. His accuracy, power, defense, and precision stifled the Hawaiian. A bruised, battered, and bloodied Holloway showed the heart and grit of a warrior, and lasted 25 minutes yet again. Following the victory, the Aussie grabbed the mic to issue a challenge to the lightweight division and Charles Oliveira.

Alexander Volkanovski is a UFC champion too
Alexander Volkanovski yells after five rounds against UFC featherweight champion Max Holloway in their title fight during UFC 245 at T-Mobile Arena on December 14, 2019 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Volkanovski took the title by unanimous decision. (Photo by Steve Marcus/Getty Images)

Talks of a potential undisputed UFC lightweight championship fight between Charles Oliveira and Islam Makhachev were growing vehement by the day. Islam Makhachev’s best friend/ training partner, and arguably the greatest lightweight fighter of all time, Khabib Nurmagomedov had even offered a bold prediction for the fight. He even expressed the willingness of the Dagestani camp to fight in Brazil in enemy territory, and take the belt to Russia. But the UFC has laid rest to all narratives, and the final denouement will be played out when these top-ranked lightweights clash at UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi.

Volkanovski has wiped out the featherweight division, with lack of viable options. Even UFC President Dana White has warmed up the idea of a move up in weight class. In a recent interview with the Daily Telegraph, Volkanovski said that he would like to be the frontrunner if the fight between the Charles and Makhachev fall apart.

He said, “So If I’m fit enough, do I stand by and be ready [for UFC 280] just in case someone gets injured, which I’ve got a feeling someone will? Go and stand by so no one can take that opportunity away from me?… We’ll see if it’s doable and I might be making that trip to Abu Dhabi.”

‘He’s gonna have to be perfect’- Michael Bisping apprises Charles Oliveira to be on top of his game for his fight against Islam Makhachev

Charles Oliveira is the true embodiment of what a switch in mindset can do to your career. With 16 submission and 19 finishes, Oliveira has the record for being the most dangerous finisher inside the octagon, but ‘Do Bronx’ wasn’t always this threatening. Many have voiced that two or three more victories would cement Charles Oliveira as the true lightweight ‘GOAT’, by dethroning Khabib Nurmagomedov. Both fighters have a humdinger and unprecedented legacy, but it is noteworthy to mention that Charles Oliveira has beaten Khabib’s opponents quicker and faster than him.

Makhachev on the other hand is riding on an impressive 10 fight win streak of his own. The Dagestani, for no fault of his has however not fought elite competition in the UFC, owing to fighters dodging him. But he has finally landed a worthy opponent, and an opportunity to lay his hands on the coveted UFC gold.

Makhachev relies on his inch-perfect game plan, and top-tier discipline to dismantle competition. He patiently waits for his opportunity instead of making it a fire fight, something which former UFC middleweight champion Michael Bisping observed.

Speaking about the matchup on his YouTube channel Bisping said, “He [Oliveira] is gonna have to be careful. If he wants to be the champ, if he wants to win this one and go home with another shiny belt against Islam Makhachev, he’s gonna have to be perfect – Because Islam doesn’t make mistakes. He [Makhachev] is on a, I think it’s a 10-fight win streak.”

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