Former undisputed UFC lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov has claimed that featherweight kingpin, Alexander Volkanovski will provide a much tougher test to his teammate, Islam Makhachev – than Charles Oliveira mustered at UFC 280 last month.
Guiding the surging Makhachev to last month’s pay-per-view headliner against former lightweight titleholder, Oliveira, Khabib watched on from the corner as his compatriot landed a dominant, one-sided second round submission win over the Brazilian – wrapping up an arm-triangle win to land the vacant division crown.
Following the main event bout, Makhachev was joined in the Octagon by undisputed featherweight best, Volkanovski – with the promotion since confirming a lightweight title fight between Makhachev and Volkanovski for UFC 284 in February in Perth, Australia.
Khabib touts Alexander Volkanovski as “tough” test for Islam Makhachev
Sharing his thoughts on the matchup between his protége and Australian standout, Volkanovski, Khabib admitted the latter will likely provide a tough test to Makhachev given his considerable Octagon and high-level fight experience.
“I told Islam (Makhachev), before the last fight [against Charles Oliveira], (Alexander) Volkanovski is going to be tougher than Charles Oliveira,” Khabib Nurmagomedov told Class A Events during a recent interview. “He has good experience. Charles and Volkanovski have the same experience… but if you talk about fighting IQ and big heart, I think Volkanovski is better than him [Oliveira].”
Riding an undefeated Octagon tenure, incoming lightweight champion, Volkanovski most recently co-headlined UFC 276 back in July during International Fight Week – defeating Max Holloway with a unanimous decision win in the pair’s trilogy title fight.
Volkanovski won the title against Holloway in 2019, before defending the crown in an immediate rematch, and then dispatching both Brian Ortega, and Chan Sung Jung during his title reign.