After his defeat to Islam Makhachev, Alexander Volkanovski delivered a passionate and forceful message to his squad in the dressing room. In order to compete against UFC lightweight champion Makhachev at UFC 284 on February 12, UFC featherweight champion and pound-for-pound supremo Volkanovski upped his weight.
The lightweight belt belonged to Makhachev, and Volkanovski’s pound-for-pound monarchy was on the line. Makhachev won by unanimous decision. The Great, on the other hand, was considered by many in the MMA community to be more deserving of the judges’ decision.
Even though he lost against Islam Makhachev, who was ranked No. 2, the fight was so closely contested that Alexander Volkanovski kept the top spot in the UFC’s pound-for-pound rankings. Volkanovski gathered with his teammates and friends backstage after losing against Makhachev.
Alexander Volkanovski claimed in a video uploaded to the FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel owned by his partner and friend, the former UFC middleweight champion Israel Adesanya, that he believed Islam Makhachev would dominate him.
The Great then seemed to realise that many people were probably impressed by the fact that he had pushed Makhachev to the limit. Yet, Volkanovski made it clear that he anticipated defeating the Dagestani fighter and taking home the lightweight title, not just holding his own. The veteran Australian MMA fighter implied, though, that he won’t allow the defeat get to him. Said Volkanovski:
“Of course, many say, “Well, you should be proud of yourself.” Of course, I’ll never be too harsh on myself. Yet, a lot of people wrote me off and didn’t think I had a chance; as a result, they are pleased with that performance. But we’re confident we can obtain it. Hence, I won’t be too hard on myself because I obviously still expected to win.”
Islam Makhachev on a potential rematch against Alexander Volkanovski
Next, the UFC is expected to host a title unification fight between featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski and interim champion Yair Rodriguez.
The winner of the forthcoming Rafael Fiziev-Justin Gaethje bout or Dustin Poirier might face Islam Makhachev in the lightweight championship defence. For his part, Volkanovski has pushed for an immediate rematch for the lightweight title against Makhachev.
Islam Makhachev has also left open the prospect of a quick rematch with “The Great.”
Russian fighter Makhachev recently stated that he won’t return until after Ramadan, which is most likely after April, in an interview that was translated and uploaded to Red Corner MMA’s YouTube channel. Moreover, Makhachev said to his following foe:
“I won’t wait for anyone or point anyone out. As soon as the UFC assigns me a challenger, I’ll be prepared. Regardless of whether it is the rematch or a different lightweight contender.” [2:32 – 2:41]