UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski believes Islam Makhachev is underestimating him.
‘The Great’ has been out of action since his trilogy bout with Max Holloway last July. In that outing at UFC 276, Volkanovski dominated en route to a lopsided unanimous decision victory. In the process, closing the chapter on his rivalry with ‘Blessed’ at three victories to none.
Following the win, the featherweight champion hinted at a move to 155 pounds. Next month at UFC 284, he will get his wish, as he will take on the newly crowned lightweight titleholder Islam Makhachev. The Russian captured the gold by submitting former champion Charles Oliveira in October.
While Alexander Volkanovski hasn’t lost a fight in a decade, he’s a massive underdog for his lightweight title fight next month. In the eyes of the featherweight titleholder, it’s not just the odds that are underestimating him. He also believes that Islam Makhachev is as well.
During a recent interview on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel, the featherweight champion discussed his return. There, he stated that he believes Makhachev’s confident demeanor will change on fight night.
“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.” (h/t MMA Fighting)
He continued, “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****** 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.”
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