Alexander Volkanovski explains why he thinks Yair Rodriguez is the “most dangerous” fighter he’s fought

By Cole Shelton - June 13, 2023

UFC champion Alexander Volkanovski has shared some high praise for his upcoming opponent Yair Rodriguez.

Alexander Volkanovski and Yair Rodriguez

Volkanovski is set to defend his featherweight title in the main event of UFC 290 – in his first fight since losing to Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title. Although Volkanovski is a sizeable betting favorite, he believes Rodriguez is a more dangerous fight than Makhachev and any other opponent he has faced.

“I believe so, 100 percent, most dangerous. Does that make it the hardest? We will see. A lot of people will be, what about Max, what about this? They are different challenges, and that is the thing people have to understand,” Volkanovski said on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel. “I always look at Yair as a more dangerous opponent for me than Islam because of that crazy, sporadic, always looking for a finish in the striking, and unpredictable behavior. It’s different. What’s a harder fight? I’ll probably say Islam is gonna be a harder fight. But, who’s more dangerous? I’ll say Yair is more dangerous, it excites me, he’s going to have these big threats and see how I deal with them.”

When asked why he thinks Yair Rodriguez is such a big threat, Alexander Volkanovski pointed to the Mexican’s ability to finish a fight no matter where it goes.

RELATED: Islam Makhachev says the BMF title is for bums.

Although Volkanovski thinks Rodriguez is a very dangerous fighter, he is confident that his fight IQ will be the difference in the fight.

“He’s a dangerous fighter, he’s a fighter that is always looking for the finish which is exciting,” Alexander Volkanovski added. “It excites me as well. It’s exciting for the crowd, you know he’s gonna bring it, you know he’s going to be unpredictable and looking for the finish even if it goes to the ground, he’s constantly looking for the finishes. His last couple of fights were submissions. That’s the kind of fighter he is. He’s on the back foot, he’s coming back with flying knees, spin kicks, no matter where it is, he is looking for the finish.

“Whether you are pressuring him, whether you are on the back foot, he’s marching forward looking for the finish. That’s exciting. Obviously a lot of threats, does that leave a lot of openings? Yeah, it does, but at the same time, a reckless dangerous fighter who is very calculated in his approach when he does it, he isn’t just spazzy and does whatever, he still understands everything that is going on. Like he still knows what he’s doing, he’s still trying to time things and draw people in, he does it in a very calculated way. I can’t wait to use that fight IQ and systematically break him down,” Volkanovski concluded.