UFC Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski thinks Islam Makhachev is underestimating him
After three and a half years, the UFC returns to Australia for the first time since October 2019. Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski faces Islam Makhachev for lightweight gold in a bid for double-champion status. In the co-main event, Josh Emmett and Yair Rodriguez compete for the interim featherweight title. While previewing the upcoming fight, Volkanovski claimed that he feels Makhachev is looking past him.
Speaking on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel, Volkanovski claimed:
“I’m f**king tiny. I’ve always been short. That’s just how it is. Even the featherweights are taller than me. But you can see in his face like, ‘This guy ain’t too big.’ I’ve seen that on plenty of people’s faces. I’ve seen that on my previous fights. My last four, five fights, but that face quickly changes when I’m in the octagon. Give me 10 seconds with him, that face changes real quick.”
Volkanovski, who’s an underdog in the upcoming clash added:
“All of a sudden that size doesn’t matter, all of a sudden my footwork, ‘Where’s this guy at? I’m in a puzzle, he’s already giving drama.’ Then I put my hands on him, there’s another problem. Then they try to grab ahold of me and I’m a little brick f**king wall, there’s another problem. That’s when you see them start to crumble and be like, ‘F***, what have I got myself into?’ That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Islam, especially the way he’s looking. I can tell he really thinks he’s going to be way too strong.”
Alexander Volkanovski relishes the prospect of being an underdog
In the aforementioned YouTube video, Alexander Volkanovski claimed that while some fighters claim to relish the prospect of being an underdog when in reality it’s the other way around, the Aussie indeed enjoys being an underdog.
“Everyone says that, ‘I love being the underdog,’ but I do. That’s the challenge, being the underdog, proving the doubters and the haters, all that type of stuff — I don’t let it really get to me, but I let it get to me enough where I’m like, ‘Alright, I’m going to train a little bit harder, I’m going to shut these guys up, and I’m going to go out there and do it.’ It makes me want those fights. Those are fights that I want. I feel like in the featherweight division I was trying to find which fight that was going to be and then this lightweight thing came and that’s what I wanted. I’m glad I did it because it’s already made me such a better fighter.”
“The fact that I’m moving up, doing the bulking, telling myself we need to get stronger, we need to work on that takedown defense, all of a sudden I’m twice as strong as I was. My defense is just on point. I’m like an absolute brick wall when people are trying to run into me and they feel it, they instantly feel it as soon as they grab ahold of me or we grab each other. They can already significantly see the strength, so it just makes you think where I go from here.”
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