UFC 284: #1 Alexander Volkanovski, An Underdog?
UFC 284: Alexander Volkanovski is the underdog vs Makhachev!
UFC 284: Volkanovski, Number 1, Yet The Underdog
Volkanovski is considered to be the best fighter in the world pound for pound. Since his UFC debut in 2016, he has gone 12-0, which is a very good record. The Australian has won 22 straight fights and has kept his UFC featherweight title four times.
Even with all of those impressive accomplishments, Volkanovski will be a +320 underdog (according to YouWager.lv Sportsbook) when he fights Islam Makhachev for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 284 in Perth, Western Australia, on Saturday.
Makhachev is a strong wrestler from the Russian republic of Dagestan. He will be 4 inches taller than the featherweight champion, and many people think he will also be stronger. Makhachev is ranked as the second-best boxer pound for pound.
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Volkanovski: Are You The Underdog?
An insider asked Volkanovski to explain why he took on this challenge at UFC 284, if he thinks of himself as the underdog, and how he thinks he compares to his opponent.
“Before I started training in MMA, I played rugby in the front row. At 5 feet 6 inches, I’ve always been too small. Even though I was bigger, I was the shortest guy on the field. Even though they were small, the rugby league players were still bigger than me. When we were in packs and scrums, the big front rowers on the other team would smirk. I knew that the mountains of men I had to run away from were thinking, wow, this guy’s size!”
The next second, they can’t hurt me anymore. The next minute, they all started making plans to try to slow me down because I was hurting their team.
UFC 284: I’ll Prove Them Wrong!
I’ve always been small, but I’ve always shown those who didn’t believe in me wrong. Every time, it’s the same. And it will happen this Saturday.
That’s when I, as the UFC featherweight champion, will move up a weight class and fight Islam Makhachev for the UFC lightweight title at UFC 284, which will be the main event in Perth, Western Australia.
Yes, at 5 feet 10 inches, he’s taller than me, and I’m moving up a weight class. But I’ve already been there.
Compared to these big guys I saw in rugby league, Islam is just a baby.
The smaller guys are like heavyweights who don’t weigh much. Absolute monsters. Are you going to tell me that something small and harmless can scare me? No. Is he good? He is, yes. I will give him that respect, but I won’t give up or worry about him.
He’s going to be bigger than me, but everyone has been bigger than me my whole life, and it’s never been a problem. So, I won’t let that be a problem any longer.
UFC 284: Volkanovski, I Think I’ll Win
People have asked me why I’m doing this. I am the champion, could stay at 145 pounds, and beat every opponent. I still want to do that, but why not put myself to the test?
I’m not doing this to show that I’m a badass, and whatever happens, will happen. I’m going to do this because I think I’ll win. I really, truly believe that. I have faith in myself as I prepare.
And I want people, especially those who are small or don’t have a lot of power, to believe in themselves, take on challenges, and push themselves.
We should do these things every day for the rest of our lives. I’ve done it my whole professional life. I’ve been doing it since I was young, and it’s made me who I am.
I’m already the best fighter in the world pound for pound. I don’t have to prove anything, but I’ll go there and show you why you think I’m the best.
There’s no better way to prove it than to go up and fight the champion of that division, who is right below you in the rankings.
You’re interested in pound for pound? I’m putting everything on the line to prove to you that I’m the best and deserve to be No. 1.
It is hard, no doubt. But look at all the good things that come out of taking on these challenges. Not just for your name and money, but do you know how much better a fighter I will be because of this? Do you know how much better of a person this will make me?
UFC 284: Volkanovski, I’m Prepared
I’ve gotten stronger and better at defending against takedowns and even at wrestling. I did the “bulking up” thing and the “strengthening” thing, and it was crazy how much I changed.
I like Islam, their team, and how strong they are, so I knew I had to step up in that area. It was obvious that I had to get stronger.
So, I told myself that, and now, overnight, this is how I think. In defense against a takedown, my hips got stiff because I knew I had to as soon as possible.
My hips said, “I’m not taking this.” All done. People who had wrestled with me before would not only notice a difference in my body shape, but they would also feel my strength right away and say, “Oh, this is very different.”
I also worked a lot on wrestling and ground game with the Hickman brothers, who are great coaches who train out of City Kickboxing and Bangtao Muay Thai in Thailand, and Craig Jones, who is one of the best grapplers in the world and an expert in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
Jones looked into what made these guys from Dagestan so good. And he’s just sitting there, putting himself in these positions over and over again to try to understand them.
And you have to remember that Craig Jones weighs somewhere between 210 and 220 pounds. People tell me I need to watch out for Islam, which I find funny.
Imagine what Craig Jones would do to a Muslim or one of these guys. When it comes to wrestling, this is just a different world.
UFC 284: Volkanovski, 2023 Is My Year
I think 2023 will be my year, and I want to start off with a bang. And there’s no way to do it better. I’m number one in terms of weight, and then you win the second belt.
It’s not up to me to decide, but you’ve gone from being called a great fighter to being called one of the best of all time. You put yourself in a group of people who say things like, “This guy is doing things that other people aren’t doing.” I’m beginning to stand out from the crowd. So, this is a huge deal.
I’m glad Islam is on the other side. I do think it would have been easier to beat Charles Oliveira. Islam being the opponent makes it bigger. This will make me the best pound-for-pound, and no one will be able to take that away from me.
There’s no better way to prove it than to go out, get your hand raised, win another belt, and beat Islam Makhachev, who is supposed to be so much bigger and stronger than me and a bad match for me.
Like I said, I’ve seen this before. From rugby to MMA, I’ve always been too small. And I’ve always shown those who didn’t believe me wrong. At first glance, they might look like they are smirking.
But things are always different in the Octagon. It will happen again in front of my fellow Australians in Perth on Saturday at UFC 284, when I become a two-division champion.