The UFC‘s pound-for-pound king, Alexander Volkanovski answers if Islam Makhachev deserves high P4P Ranking

The UFC‘s pound-for-pound king, Alexander Volkanovski, feels Islam Makhachev is a willing challenger for the top spot in the rankings.

Volkanovski will defend the pound-for-pound No. 1 spot when he challenges for Makhachev’s lightweight title at UFC 284. He’s making the move up in weight after four successful title defenses as the UFC featherweight champion.

Volkanovski and Makhachev’s respective paths to UFC stardom have their similarities and differences. While both of them have dominated their recent fights, their strength of schedules is arguably different entering this weekend.

Other current and former UFC champions, such as Kamaru Usman and Leon Edwards, have arguably a greater sample size than Makhachev. But, Volkanovski feels Makhachev’s case for the No. 2 ranking is a solid one.

Alexander Volkanovski Understands Islam Makhachev’s P4P Standing

Alexander Volkanovski, Islam Makhachev
Zuffa LLC and MMA Fighting

During his UFC 284 pre-fight media day, Volkanovski explained the differences between his and Makhachev’s path toward the top of the pound-for-pound rankings.

“Do I think I had a harder path to pound-for-pound and all that? Yeah, look at my résumé,” Volkanovski said. “But do I believe he’s as good as number two pound-for-pound? Yeah, for sure. I believe he definitely deserves to be up here. He is a great fighter. Again, you probably look at the résumé, still a good résumé, but it’s probably not as good and as deep as some of ours. But at the same time, when it comes to skill, he’s definitely right up there.”

This is the first time in the UFC’s 30-year history that the top two pound-for-pound fighters will clash in the Octagon. Makhachev vs. Volkanovski is also one of the most highly-anticipated fights of 2023, expected to potentially break pay-per-view records.

If Volkanovski becomes one of the few fighters to defeat Makhachev, he’ll cement himself as a potential pound-for-pound king for the foreseeable future. Although, he feels that the argument that Makhachev’s fast rise toward the top of the list isn’t justifiable.

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