UFC Lightweight Champion Islam Makhachev wants Alexander Volkanovski to follow up his words with actions.
Makhachev will defend the lightweight belt for the first time this Saturday against Volkanovski at UFC 284. He earned the then-vacant title by defeating Charles Oliveira last October at UFC 280.
Makhachev and Volkanovski have been cordial for the most part ahead of their super fight. The two of them have complimented their skillsets ahead of fight night, although not without a few notable jabs.
One such jab was when Volkanovski sat down with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and promised to “smack the smirk off” Makhachev in the Octagon. Both fighters are supremely confident ahead of the fight, but Volkanovski feels Makhachev’s confidence borders cockiness.
After getting word of Volkanovski’s comments, Makhachev didn’t take long to respond.
Islam Makhachev to Alexander Volkanovski: “Keep the same energy”
In a recent tweet, Makhachev challenged Volkanovski in case the featherweight champion decides to get physical at the press conference.
“Just watched Volk interview with ESPN about smacking my face etc,” Makhachev tweeted. “Keep the same energy tomorrow at press conf when you face me.”
Some Twitter users saw Makhachev’s tweet with skepticism that his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, might’ve been the one who published it. As of this writing, there’s no evidence that this is the case.
Volkanovski will look to become the UFC’s latest ‘champ-champ’ if he defeats Makhachev on Saturday. Both fighters enter UFC 284 with double-digit win streaks.
Recent concerns that UFC 284 hasn’t been adequately promoted seem to be off the table, as Makhachev and Volkanovski continue their war of words ahead of their highly-anticipated clash.
The UFC 284 press conference is scheduled for 12 a.m. PT/3 a.m. ET on Friday.