Alexander Volkanovski couldn’t have been more excited to get the phone call to step in for Charles Oliveira to get a second crack at Islam Makhachev.
Alexander Volkanovski looks to right the wrong from his lone UFC loss when he faces Makhachev for the second time this year for the lightweight title in the main event of UFC 294 next Saturday in Abu Dhabi. The featherweight champion hops in on less than two weeks’ notice to try and get back a close decision loss to Makhachev at February’s UFC 284 event, and he plans on making sure the judges stay out of it.
“It’s going to be an exciting one,” Alexander Volkanovski said in a media scrum in Australia. “Obviously, I want to go out there and hurt him. We’ll try to make sure it doesn’t go five rounds. I want to finish it early. I don’t want to test his gas tank. Don’t get me wrong, I think I can do it, but let’s not try and test it. Let’s just finish it nice and early.
“With how excited I am, how refreshed I am — both mentally and physically — I’m going to be a dangerous man in there.
“I plan on knocking him out.”
Alexander Volkanovski was tied to a featherweight title defense in January at UFC 297 against Ilia Topuria. A person with knowledge of the promotion’s plans confirmed to MMA Fighting on Monday that both parties had agreed in principle to the bout, but things changed quickly after Oliveira suffered a nasty gash above his eye and was forced to withdraw.
While Alexander Volkanovski was intrigued by the Topuria matchup, he admits that waiting until January following a successful title defense against Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290, along with subsequent hand surgery, was feeling like too long of a wait. So when the phone call came, Alexander Volkanovski was jubilant.
“I didn’t hesitate at all,” Alexander Volkanovski explained. “There was probably a smile on my face straightaway and it was, ‘Oh, we’re going to do it,’ let the manager do his part with negotiations. He’s asking about the weight, ‘We’ll get it done, don’t worry about that.’ But I had a smile on my face.
“The next day, or couple of days, I literally just was laughing thinking how crazy this is, but happy at the same time. I think I needed this, to be honest.”