Javier Mendez is confident Islam Makhachev will run it back with Alexander Volkanovski.
After five-rounds of back-and-forth action in Perth, Australia, Makhachev edged a close unanimous decision victory to hold onto his lightweight title at UFC 284.
The decision received mixed reactions from fans, fighters, and analysts of the sport. Many believed Volkanovski had done enough to attain the lightweight championship in front of a rowdy Australian crowd.
Volkanovski surprised many people with his ability to go toe-to-toe with Makhachev. American Kickboxing Academy head coach Mendez was one of those people who wasn’t expecting a fight that was so closely contested.
Javier Mendez praises Alexander Volkanovski
“It was definitely a challenge,” Mendez told Submission Radio post-fight. “Alex, he actually became the challenge Khabib told me that he was gonna be. He felt that Alex was gonna be the toughest challenge for Islam, and that Islam was gonna have to grind it out through the end. That’s what he felt. And I said, well, I didn’t know, cause the way I looked at Islam, he looked fantastic in training. But Khabib had a feeling that it was gonna be a tougher fight than I anticipated myself. So, it was exactly what Khabib thought it was. It was a real tough fight. We got pound-for-pound for a reason, but we beat it from a guy that is the greatest of all-time in the featherweight division and one of the greats of all-time, he’s gonna be, no doubt.”
Given how close and entertaining the fight was, Mendez, is confident of a rematch taking place in the future.
Mendez expects a rematch between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski
“I definitely think the UFC is gonna want to see a rematch, so I don’t see no reason why they wouldn’t do a rematch,” he added.
“I think it would be great. I think the fans would love it. I think Islam would be down for it also. And obviously Alex is. Because, I mean, come on now, he calls himself Alexander the Great, and he lives up to that name. So, there’s a reason — and he’s such a gentleman. He’s a competitor. He feels he won, but that’s the way you’re supposed to feel. And he’s got the right attitude, and yeah, I think at some point they probably will do a rematch. When they collide again it’s gonna be a different fight, different adversity for both sides. It’s not gonna be easy for both sides. No way. But let’s see what happens. Let’s see what’s in the cards. I’m sure Yair has got the next calling, and let’s see what happens from there.”
Quotes via GiveMeSport
The same night the UFC 284 main event unfolded, Yair Rodriguez, attained UFC featherweight interim gold by submitting Josh Emmett in the co-headliner. Logically, that would mean the Mexican would be Volkanovski’s next challenger at featherweight, but with Volkanovski campaigning for the immediate rematch with Makhachev, nothing is set-in-stone.
Should Alexander Volkanovski get the immediate rematch with Islam Makhachev? Let us know in the comments!