The UFC 284 main event will see Islam Makhachev defend his newly acquired lightweight championship for the first time against another champion in featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski.
The two champions are already in Perth, where the UFC returns after a lengthy wait, and have squared off. Makhachev is the favorite coming into the fight despite only just being crowned champion a few months ago. That’s compared to Volkanovski’s dominant reign and pedigree.
Makhachev spoke to Fox Sports Australia in an interview and was questioned about his approach to the fight. He was asked whether he plans to take a leaf out of Brian Ortega’s fight against the Aussie in terms of submission attempts.
Makhachev confirmed that he was aware of Volkanovski escaping two submission attempts, but mentioned that Charles Oliveira was no easy foe on the mat either. He added that the finish didn’t matter and that he intends to give Volkanovski a tough time:
“Doesn’t matter. It’s not gonna be submission. I’m gonna give him like hard time, give him ground and pound. And when he feel, ‘It’s not my division, I don’t want to take more damage,’ he’s gonna give up.”
Islam Makhachev speaks about Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence from his corner at UFC 284
Islam Makhachev’s mentor and former lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov has trained with him his entire life and played a crucial role in his journey to the summit.
However, it was recently revealed that ‘The Eagle’ will not return cage-side to corner Makhachev in his first title defense as he looks to step back from mixed martial arts.
Makhachev spoke about Nurmagomedov’s decision in the same interview, saying:
“I understand him because, you know, he was retired but he still travel a lot with [the] whole team. And when somebody have fight, he go to the training camp and went to the other things, you know? … When you retire, you want to spend more time with family. For example, in 2020, he says just like two months he stay at home with the family but all other time he travel a lot. That’s why he want to spend more time with his family.”
Islam Makhachev also mentioned that the two fighters have convened over the upcoming fight and have a plan in place to take down Alexander Volkanovski.
“He give me good support for this fight, we talk about this fight, he give me the plan I have to fight.”
Check out his full interview below: