Alex Volkanovski believes he is the greatest UFC featherweight of all-time. Jose Aldo and Max Holloway are in also in the conversation and he has beaten both of them.

He boasts a trilogy of victories over Holloway and dominated the Hawaiian at UFC 276. It was a performance that underlined the Australian’s superiority over the rest of the division, and a result that drove him to seek greater challenges.

Islam Makhachev represents just that. Volkanovski will challenge the newly crowned lightweight champion at UFC 284 in Perth next month. The Australian is already ranked as the #1 pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC and feels he could establish himself as not just the best fighter of the current era but the best of all time with a win in his homeland,

“I have the opportunity to go from being one of the best right now to possibly one of the best ever. That’s how big this fight is for me,” he told

Sold out

He has not fought in Australia since 2018. That event broke attendance records at the Perth Arena but Volkanovski was only on the preliminary card.

The UFC did not have a suitable Australian headliner in 2018. That has all changed in this year and tickets for the event at the Perth Arena have reportedly sold out completely.

Volkanovski thinks this will be the biggest MMA event to ever take place within the country’s borders,

“I don’t think it gets any bigger than this. Put everything into perspective, the second belt, the challenge, the #1 pound-for-pound spot, and in Australia. It doesn’t get any bigger than that. It’s going to be absolutely huge.”

High risk

But the fight is not without risk. Volkanovski, who began his training camp in Phuket, has not competed at lightweight since 2018 and is moving up in order to take on the most dangerous fighter in the division.

Makhachev is on an 11 fight winning streak that culminated in a submission win over Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. He says a lot of people warned him not to take the fight.

Volkanovski was told it was too big a risk but says that is exactly why he was so determined to do it,

“All that s**t you say on why I shouldn’t fight Islam is exactly why I should do this fight. People think this guy is invincible. Remember that. Remember that when I get my hand raised.”

Not scared

His opponent is Khabib Nurmagomedov’s protege and Volkanovski gets the impression people think he is invincible. He sounds very confident of victory and wants people to remember exactly who it was he beat,

“I just want people to remember how they look at Islam now, and the last thing I want is for people to change the narrative. Remember guys, this is David versus Goliath. This is me stepping up to face Khabib 2.0 and all that kind of stuff. I don’t want people taking this away from my legacy.”

Interestingly Makhachev has not beaten a single fighter who is currently ranked in the top ten apart from Oliveira. Volkanovski thinks that the top lightweights have been avoiding the Russian but says he is of a different mettle,

“He’s always been a great fighter, but the toughest guys wouldn’t fight him. I’m not scared of anybody.”