Alex Volkanovski stepped up at short notice to take on Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 this weekend. It is his second shot at the lightweight belt and if he loses the Australian knows it will probably be his last.
Volkanovski told UFC.com that he feels this could be his final shot at lightweight gold,
“I’m never going to get this rematch again. This will be the last chance I get. If I lose, I take a big hit. There’s still a lot to lose for me.”
— UFC (@ufc) October 17, 2023
Nothing to lose
Volkanovski is responding to people who claim that he has nothing to lose because he is a natural featherweight who has stepped in to save the card at very late notice. He has certainly won the respect of fans all over the world but that is not a currency the 35 year old is currently lacking.
Volkanovski’s reputation does not need enhancing at this stage of his career. What he wants is a second UFC title and stepping up to take such a difficult fight without the normal level of preparation jeopardises his long term chance of doing that,
“I’m sick of hearing that it’s a ‘no-lose’ situation. My legacy is on the line. I want this rematch. I want this lightweight title, and I need this win. Now I need to do it on 12 days’ notice.”
Champ 🆚 Champ once again this Saturday!
— UFC (@ufc) October 16, 2023
Some fighters are only seen at the gym when preparing for fights. Volkanovski definitely isn’t one of them and even though he had nothing booked when the call came the Australian wasn’t exactly out of shape,
“This isn’t just any regular person stepping in on short notice. This is a seasoned guy who’s been a professional for the last 12 years. I don’t have big breaks in the gym. I’m constantly thinking about fighting.”
Makhachev is the only man to ever beat him in a UFC fight so it is understandable that the Russian has been on Volkanovski’s mind even if there wasn’t much prospect of an immediate rematch. He claims not to have been dwelling on the defeat but has still gone over some mistakes which potentially proved pivotal,
“It wasn’t as if Islam was in my head. You think of the loss here and there but it’s more about that fight and things that I could do. Adjustments I could have made or what I learned from that fight.”
Opponents for 25 minutes
— UFC (@ufc) February 12, 2023
A bit of history
Having already shared the octagon with Makhachev for 25 minutes Volkanovski has nothing but respect for the Russian. He believes he is the only man capable of beating him and that is exactly what he hopes to do at the Etihad Arena this weekend,
“There’s a bit of history with this rematch. It’s bigger than double champ status. If I wasn’t around, I think he’d be a champion for a very long time. That’s how good he is. But I’m about to ruin that party.”