Alexander Volkanovski seemingly will have his sights set on Islam Makhachev until he gets a second crack.
In the lead-up to UFC 290, and in the wake of its aftermath Saturday at T-Mobile Arena, Volkanovski (26-2 MMA, 13-1 UFC) voiced determination and motivation to rewrite history if he’s given the opportunity to avenge his UFC 284 loss.
“I’d be lying to say I’ll just walk through him and do this and do that,” Volkanovski told MMA Junkie and other reporters at the UFC 290 post-fight news conference. “It’s going to be another highly contested battle, but I guarantee I get my hand raised. I’m going to capitalize on a lot more things. It is two tough guys going at it. They’ve done five rounds and there’s a good chance you might see another five rounds of it. I’d love to get a finish. We’re both that good that it might be another tougher fight. But I’m looking forward, again.”
Alexander Volkanovski, 34, currently is the promotion’s No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter. It’s a position he’s maintained for months. Saturday, he pounded out interim featherweight champion Yair Rodriguez (16-4 MMA, 10-3 UFC) for a third-round TKO in the UFC 290 main event.
Atop the featherweight and pound-for-pound mountains, Volkanovski has reiterated time and time again he only wants fights that challenge him and triggers his competitive excitement.
“It’s another challenge that excites me, so that’s obviously what I wanted,” Volkanovski said. “We talk about how I don’t need to be motivated, but it’s exciting when I can have guys like that in front of me. That camp that I had, I did 14 weeks. It’s just so good to have someone like that in front of you. You ask, ‘How do you get better?’ It’s things like that that get you better – certain opponents in front of you that get you better. I told myself, ‘I need to work on this. Where you’re at right now isn’t good enough.’
“In that fight, he got his hand raised. Do I think I won? Yeah, I do. But he got his hand raised. All right, I need to work on these things. I’m going to evolve again. These lightweights and featherweights ain’t going to stand a chance.”
UFC president Dana White approved of Alexander Volkanovski’s request for another lightweight title shot following the conclusion of the UFC 290 main event, during which Volkanovski defeated Yair Rodriguez.
It’s unclear when or against whom Alexander Volkanovski will return to action and he revealed after UFC 290 he likely will need surgery. Islam Makhachev (24-1 MMA, 13-1 UFC) is expected to headline UFC 294 in October in Abu Dhabi.
The current UFC lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev does not currently have a clear-cut next title challenger. The promotion angled for Charles Oliveira to be next, but Saturday he told MMA Junkie it’s unlikely he’ll be ready for October.
“It makes it a lot better of an opportunity for me to step in there,” Volkanovski said. “But I’m not ruling that out. It’s funny. These people want extra time but here am telling you I’m going to get surgery and I’m probably going to turn up there in October. That’s what I’m showing. Find me, champ. There’s not many of them anywhere.”