UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski has vowed to keep both divisions busy if he’s successful in capturing the lightweight title from Islam Makhachev.
UFC 284 is headlined this weekend by ‘The Great’ stepping up a division for a chance at double champ status. Volkanovski is looking to be just the fifth fighter to achieve such a feat and whilst his 145lb strap isn’t on the line, the Australian is putting his No.1 pound-for-pound spot up for grabs.
With Alexander Volkanovski confident he’s going to cause an upset in the main event, the 34-year-old also made a promise to UFC fans should he be successful. The featherweight champion sees achieving both belts as only the beginning as he’d also like to be the first male to defend both titles simultaneously.
During an interview with TMZ, Volkanovski said:
“I made a promise that I’ll keep both divisions busy and I’m a man of my word. I’ve always been a man of my word and that’s just who I am and that’s what I plan on doing.”
“I want 2023 to be active and this is the year that will define my legacy. This is the one that everyone’s gonna be talking about. This is what I really want so I need to be active. So I want to do both divisions. I really do. I said I was gonna do it and I’m gonna try my best to actually do that.”
Catch Alexander Volkanovski’s comments below (3:45):
Alexander Volkanovski’s BJJ coach plays down Islam Makhachev’s grappling ability
Much of the fight build-up between Alexander Volkanovski and Islam Makhachev has been centered around whether or not the Australian will be able to defend the inevitable takedowns from Makhachev.
The lightweight champion is an elite level wrestler and grappler as well as a former Sambo world champion. With the odds seemingly stacked against ‘The Great’ in the wrestling department, fans have been left wondering how the fight will play out.
Speaking to Submission Radio, Craig Jones, the BJJ coach of Alexander Volkanovski, has played down the Russian fighter’s skills. According to Jones, Makhachev’s submission game isn’t strong and he sthat Samboted Sambo isn’t as effective as some might believe:
“He’s just good at holding people down. Like, he submits people, but I don’t think he has good submissions… You know, like a lot of the sambo guys into tournaments, they want heel hooks bans, you know. So it’s not a complete grappling art on the ground.”
“But again what he [Islam Makahchev] does well is his ability to hold people down from half guard and close guard especially, and then as they make bad decisions he’s able to pounce on submissions.”
Catch Craig Jones’ comments below (2:40):