UFC 284: Alex Volkanovski aims to take down Islam Makhachev in historic pound-for-pound match
Alex Volkanovski vs. Islam Makhachev brings an unprecedented twist to the Champion vs. Champion match. Australia’s UFC pound-for-pound king predicts shock finish, writes BRENDAN BRADFORD
Featherweight champion Alex Volkanovski has vowed to prove the doubters wrong and make history by moving up a weight class and defeating defending lightweight champion Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 in Perth next month.
It’s far from the first champion-versus-champion fight in the UFC, but it’s the first time the two highest-ranking men’s pound-for-pound fighters have ever fought each other after Volkanovski was ranked No. 1 on P4P was promoted and Makhachev was named No. 1.2 in November last year.
“It is. This is the first time it’s ever been #1 vs #2,” Volkanovski told News Corp. “It’s never happened before.
“We’re making history, and having me step up and fight pound-for-pound guy #2 only makes it bigger.
“No one has ever gone into a champion-champion match against someone who was ranked that high and I can’t wait to get there and prove the doubters wrong.”
Makhachev’s 10cm size advantage was evident as the pair faced off in Sydney on Sunday, with Volkanovski considered a major underdog by bookies and written off by many MMA pundits.
But the Aussie, who is unbeaten in 12 fights in the UFC, believes he has the skills to cause an upset.
“People look at the size difference and call it a David and Goliath story, but all of that makes the win so much bigger,” Volkanovski said.
“He’s a good fighter, he’s had some good wins, but we adapt to different styles better than anyone. There are a lot of people he faces who don’t know how to solve this puzzle.
“I guarantee you that.”
Makhachev (23-1) has enjoyed a rapid climb up the UFC pecking order, proving his own doubters wrong with a resounding second-round win over Charles Oliveira to capture the lightweight belt in October.
A protégé of Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev has also spent time training with former UFC champions Daniel Cormier and Luke Rockhold in the US and is confident of creating his own legacy by becoming the UFC’s pound-for-pound king.
“My last fight was for the belt, the next fight is for the rankings,” he told News Corp. “I’m going to be the best fighter out there – that means the world to me.
“It’s every fighter’s dream to become world No. 1, so I’m very excited.”
An elite grappler, three of Makhachev’s last four wins – including his title fight win – came by submission and he says his experience will make the difference.
“[Volkanovski]tried to put some wrestling on his team to be good at his wrestling, but you have to wrestle your whole life,” he said.
“This is not boxing or kickboxing. That is different. You have to do wrestling your whole life.”
When asked how the fight will end, Makhachev promised another submission win while Volkanovski is aiming for a knockout.
“He’s got a pretty big head,” Volkanovski joked. “An easy target to hit.”
https://www.codesports.com.au/ufc/ufc-284-alex-volkanovski-wants-ko-against-islam-makhachev-in-champ-vs-champ-title-fight-for-no1-poundforpound-crown/news-story/99e75f3d1538984defddf84d7501a5dd?nk=9bf0035d2ac159f6e99f1a698e8f9cf8-1674368648 UFC 284: Alex Volkanovski aims to take down Islam Makhachev in historic pound-for-pound match