Alexander Volkanovski revealed in the post-fight press conference that he was struggling mentally with inactivity and getting to a dark place, hence why he took this fight on short notice of UFC 294 event
Alexander Volkanovski (26-3 MMA) and Makhachev (25-1 MMA) squared off for a second time in today’s UFC 294 headliner, with the promotion‘s coveted lightweight world title up for grabs.
The pair had previously met this past February at UFC 284, where Islam Makhachev was awarded a hotly debated unanimous decision victory over the reigning featherweight kingpin.
Makhachev was originally slated to rematch Charles Oliveira this afternoon in Abu Dhabi, however, ‘Do Bronx’ was forced to withdraw from the contest just two weeks out after suffering a nasty cut in training. With that, Dana White and company called Alexander Volkanovski to see if he was willing to step in and accept the fight on short notice. ‘The Great’ was quick to accept the UFC’s offer, a decision which was questioned by many, including former ‘champ champ’ Daniel Cormier.
While Alexander Volkanovski was confident he could overcome the odds on short notice, that did not prove to be the case.
Instead, Islam Makhachev was able to finish the featherweight champion in the very first-round after landing a thunderous head kick, followed by some heavy ground and pound.
Shortly following the conclusion of tonight’s UFC 294 headliner, Alexander Volkanovski spoke with reporters at the post-fight press conference where he reflected on his decision to accept the short notice rematch.
“You know, I could have made better decisions. But, you know, he’s not somebody you should be taking a short notice (fight) with. I needed it. Again, obviously a lot of people will say it’s for the money and all that, but it was much more than that. You know, it is hard, it really is hard for athletes. I never thought I’d struggle with it. But, for some reason, when I wasn’t fighting or in camp… I just needed a fight. And then this opportunity came up.”
Alexander Volkanovski continued:
“I’ll be honest, I wasn’t training as much as I should have, but I thought I had to do it. I had to take it, or I thought it would be a… You know, I’m telling myself it’s meant to be. Obviously, I was struggling a bit not fighting. Doing my head in. I don’t know why. Everything is fine. I’ve got a beautiful family, but I don’t know. I think you just have to stay busy. That’s why I asked the UFC to just keep me busy. Because I need to be keeping busy. I need to be in camp. Otherwise, I’m going to do my head in. So you know, that’s it. I’ll leave it at that.”
Alexander Volkanovski is hoping that he can still get booked to headlined UFC 297 this January in Toronto against top featherweight contender Ilia Topuria.