Alexander Volkanovski is looking to stop the ‘unstoppable’ Islam Makhachev: “Taking out someone like Islam is really what people are going to remember.”

alexander volkanovski Islam Makhachev
Image Credits: Zuffa LLC and Getty Images

At UFC 284, the Australian featherweight king, Alexander Volkanovski, will be going up in weight to battle the UFC lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev. The Dagestani-born wrestler is a protege of Khabib Nurmagomedov. While earning two belts is an honorable goal for Alexander ‘The Great’ Volkanovski, what really motivates him is taking down the powerhouse wrestler Makhachev.

While speaking in an interview with Michael Bisping, Alexander Volkanovski explained:

“No disrespect to them, but that’s why this fight is so big to me. It’s the Dagestani wrestling, no one can figure this out, they’re on a roll and all that. Khabib’s there. Islam, what he’s been doing his last few fights. All that. I was chasing the champ-champ, that’s what motivated me before I knew who I was fighting. As soon as Islam won and the people talked, something was just like, bang, that’s all that I cared about is taking out Islam.”

It looked as though Volkanovski was to battle Charles Oliveira, but the Russian Islam Makhachev upset these plans when he stopped the Brazilian champion at UFC 280 at took the throne for himself. On facing Makhachev instead of Oliveira, Alexander Volkanovski said that this is just fine by him. He continued:

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“It wasn’t even disrespect. All that stuff just made this fight so much bigger. Me accomplishing this goal — not only the champ-champ, it’s obviously going to be incredible, having two belts — but not just that. It’s, while doing that, taking out someone like Islam. Especially being a featherweight going to move up to lightweight, then fighting not only any lightweight, you’re going to Dagestani-wrestling Islam who’s known to just walk and control and throw around all these lightweights. ‘How’s Alex going to deal with that?’

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See the full interview below:

Alexander Volkanovski on motivation against Islam Makhachev

Making history as a double champion pales in comparison to taking out a Dagestani wrestler, for Alexander Volkanovski. Few MMA fighters have been able to solve the Rubik’s cube of these athletes. Defeating Makhachev matters more than the UFC gold. Australia’s Volkanovski added:

“This just makes when I get my hand raised, it just makes it so much bigger. So that’s what’s motivating me right now, the fight itself. It’s going to be extra special getting both belts on them shoulders, but [also] who I’m taking out in the process.”

With impressive wins over Max Holloway, ‘The Korean Zombie’ Chan Sung Jung, Brian Ortega, Jose Aldo, Chad Mendes, and others, Australia’s Volkanovski has reached the top of the pound-for-pound rankings. He says rankings are cool but they don’t excite him. Alexander Volkanovski said:

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“Pound-for-pound and all that, it’s really good, champ-champ,” he added. “But I was really chasing him because you knock off your goals, what’s next, what’s next, the champ-champ’s next, but as soon as it was Islam and people telling me — I love people doubting me. Seeing people, like, ‘He’s going to be too big, too strong,’ and all this. The challenge, the opponent that I’ve got, that excites me more. Going for this champ-champ and taking out someone like Islam is really what people are going to remember. A lot of people think he’s unstoppable right now, but I’m going to show you that he is stoppable and I can’t wait to go out there and do my thing.” [Transcript courtesy of MMA Fighting]