Alexander Volkanovski doesn’t want to hear excuses about Khabib’s absence after his UFC 284 win

Alexander Volkanovski doesn't want to hear excuses about Khabib's absence after his UFC 284 win

It’s been a long, long time since Alexander Volkanovsky he has been an underdog in betting.

The reigning UFC featherweight champion has been one of the most dominant forces in MMA since joining the UFC in 2016, racking up a 12-0 record and four defenses of his 145-pound belt en route to becoming the number 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the sport. Naturally, he has been the betting favorite for most of that streak. But that will change on February 12 when Volkanovski jumps up to 155 pounds to challenge the UFC lightweight champion. islam makhachev for two-division glory in the main event of UFC 284.

Volkanovski opened as a big betting underdog against Makhachev and remains so less than two weeks before the fight. And it’s safe to say that he’s enjoying all the new skeptics of him.

“I like it. I’m fine with it,” Volkanovski said in MMA time. “Especially moving up and the lightweight title and all that kind of stuff, and then fighting someone like that, again, we want this as a legacy. I never used to talk like that. If you remember, I never talked about legacy fights and all this kind of stuff, but that’s what I’m into now. Now I am in favor of big fights. I love the underdog story. I love being the underdog and people saying I’m too small and all that kind of stuff. It just adds to the story and will add to the victory.

“There are going to be a lot of people who are going to doubt me, which I love, and all that kind of stuff: ‘I’m little, he’s too good at Dagestan wrestling’ and all that kind of stuff. That’s good. But he only remembers that. Remember that. Don’t change the narrative when I raise my hand. That’s something I need people to understand, because it’s fun: people will sit there and say all these things. if something happens [and I win]’Oh yeah, [Makhachev] did not fight with anyone. It was his first defense. Suddenly they take away the win and act like he’s not the person they said he was before the fight.

“Just remember what you’re saying he is now. You’re putting him on that pedestal, keep him there even if I raise my hand. Don’t trade those bulls ***.”

Volkanovski, 34, will become the fifth simultaneous two-division champion in UFC history if successful at UFC 284, joining the likes of Conor McGregor, Daniel Cormier, amanda nunesY henry cejudo. He has repeatedly stated his intentions to keep both titles and defend the throne in both divisions if the fight against Makhachev goes his way.

His goals are lofty, which is why Volkanovsky doesn’t want to hear any revisionist stories about Makhachev if he achieves what he sets out to achieve.

That includes excuses about Makhachev’s mentor and teammate, the former UFC champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov, not being in Makhachev’s corner for UFC 284.

“I guess I was [surprised] at the beginning, but it doesn’t matter, Islam will continue to appear,” Volkanovski said. “I know that people promote narratives and all that kind of stuff. At the end of the day, Islam is a great fighter. He’s the one who goes there and does his job, and Khabib will tell you himself. So again, if I raise my hand, I don’t know [complaining]. These are excuses. He has fought many times without Khabib on his side.

“He’s done it before and he’s a great fighter. He will show up and show up in the Octagon anyway, whether Khabib is there or not. So I’m preparing for the same Islam that I’ve seen, and again, if things go the way I plan them to, don’t start changing the narratives and start using all these excuses, because it’s the guy in front of him that what’s the problem.”

Volkanovski certainly has his work cut out for him.

Makhachev is the #2 MMA Fighting pound-for-pound fighter in the world for a reason. The 31-year-old has demolished every lightweight in his path over the past six years, racking up 11 straight wins over the likes of Carlos Oliveira, Arman Tsarukyan, give prostitute, bobby green, drew dober, and more. Makhachev’s title victory over Oliveira, in particular, was eye-opening: an eight-minute game that saw him dominate and then submit the UFC’s all-time submissions leader.

Nonetheless, Volkanovski likes what he and his team have seen in the matchup.

“Obviously we know where the advantages are going to be for me and where the advantages [are] going to have,” Volkanovski said. “He wants it on the ground and I want it on the feet, it’s pretty simple. And for the people who are going to say, ‘Oh, the punch of him is underrated,’ it definitely is. If you’re just looking at combos and stuff, yeah, it’s not the prettiest, it’s not like it has the best setups and stuff like that, but keep calculating. You will not take unnecessary risks. He’s not going to get too out of position most of the time. Maybe when he chooses to hit and things like that, he does, but a lot of times he’s a little bit defensive and will wait for the right moment to shoot.

“So he’s calculated, just like Khabib and a lot of these Dagestani fighters and these top-level fighters, which is great.

“But at the same time, you have to remember my punches,” Volkanovski continued. “I understand all these things. I can’t give away too much, but you could do all of these things. I am aware of what you want to do. I am aware of the patterns. I totally understand the game. I really do. I understand my style, I understand your style. I have a great team. We have the knowledge, and not only that, I have the fighting IQ to really capitalize on the things we see. So there are definitely things that I can profit from, and I will.

“So I am prepared to go where it is needed. You’re not going to see me panic.

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