Alexander Volkanovski explains why he’s got “a lot of respect” for Islam Makhachev and Khabib Nurmagomedov

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Alexander Volkanovski has put his name forward to face Charles Oliveira or Islam Makhachev should anything happen to them leading up to their UFC 280 lightweight title fight. In a new interview, Volkanovski laid out his thoughts on how a fight against Makhachev would go.

Speaking to Daniel Cormier, Volkanovski practically referred to Makhachev and his coach Khabib Nurmagomedov as a single entity. He said:

“I respect [Islam] as one of the, right now him and Khabib with their grappling and wrestling, that’s why I feel like he gets the job done. People think that when they get to the striking part, they’re always approaching the striking safely, they’re not silly, they don’t take unnecessary risks.”

“They do what needs to be done to find their way in and do what they do best and they don’t care what anyone says about it. And I think I’ve got a lot of respect for that because once this lad grabs you, it’s gonna be a hard day. But I believe I’m a hard man to hold down and I’ve proved that.”

As far as who he’d prefer to face for the lightweight title, Alexander Volkanovski leaned towards Charles Oliveira because he saw it as a bigger fight. However, he admitted he was expecting Islam Makhachev to walk away from UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi with the lightweight title.

Watch Alexander Volkanovski discuss Charles Oliveira vs. Islam Makhachev below:

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Alexander Volkanovski explains why he’s ready to step in and fight at UFC 280

With his latest one-sided win over Max Holloway, Alexander Volkanovski is already in a position to move up to lightweight and compete for a second belt. But rather than sit on the sidelines and just wait for Oliveira and Makhachev to fight so he can challenge the winner, ‘The Great’ is preparing to act as a backup fighter for UFC 280.

Volkanovski explained his reasoning to Daniel Cormier, saying:

“I am going to be fit enough and I am going to get enough of a camp for my fitness and I will do it. That’s the type of guy I am. Again as I always say I will make sure no one else takes the opportunity away from me. Because if someone else goes and does that then that means I am going to wait a little longer and I don’t want that. I am happy to sit there and if someone doesn’t make weight or gets injured I will slip in.”

With a mindset like that, it’s no surprise that Volkanovski is unimpressed with the current crop of featherweight contenders refusing to fight each other for an interim title while he chases double-champ glory.






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