UFC featherweight champion, Alexander Volkanovski, believes that Islam Makhachev is underestimating him ahead of their super-fight at UFC 284 next month. Volkanovski is set to challenge Makhachev for the UFC Lightweight Title on February 12th in Australia.
*WARNING: Contains some language readers may find offensive*
Volkanovski Insists Makhachev Is Overlooking Him
UFC 284 takes us to Perth, Australia where we see two champions go head-to-head. The featherweight champion, Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski, welcomes the lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev, to his home country of Australia for the main event in what is a stellar card of MMA action.
Both Makhachev and Volkanovski are two of the best pound-for-pound fighters in the world right now. This is one of the first fights in Volk’s UFC career that he goes into a bout as the betting underdog with the best offshore sportsbooks. He is quite a sizable underdog at that, but as the fight draws nearer, the Aussie is relishing the underdog tag.
In a recent video on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel, Volkanovski revealed that he wouldn’t have it any other way as he gears up for his lightweight title shot:
“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.”
Ahead of his step up to 155-pounds, the 34-year-old believes he has come on leaps and bounds in terms of strength and power. The 25-1 mixed martial artist is confident that he is doing all the right things ahead of his lightweight debut:
“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 a hold 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.”
Islam Makhachev won the UFC Lightweight Title back at UFC 280. In the immediate aftermath of the bout, the Russian called out Volkanovski for a ‘champ vs champ’ showdown next. The Aussie was serving as a back-up fighter in case either Makhachev or the then lightweight champ Charles Oliveira missed weight or had to pull out of the fight.
To be fair to Makhachev, who is the overriding favorite for this fight with the best sports betting apps, he called out Volkanovski immediately and was keen to set up this super-fight. The UFC Featherweight Champion believes that Makhachev wants this fight as he believes he is an easy target:
“I’m f****** tiny. I’ve always been short,” Volkanovski said.
“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. 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 a hold of me and I’m a little brick f****** 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.”
UFC 284 takes place on February 12th (3am EST) at the RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. UFC fans can avail of various UFC free bets by checking out the SportsLens website.
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