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Islam Makhachev has ‘a lot more things to worry about’ with ‘f—king tiny’ Alexander Volkanovski than vice-versa

Islam Makhachev v Alex Volkanovski UFC284 Media Opportunity Photo by Brett Hemmings/Zuffa LLC

Alexander Volkanovski has felt underestimated against Islam Makhachev since their fight was made official.

The reigning Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Featherweight champion’s shot at dual-division titleholder status has nearly arrived. At UFC 284 on Feb. 11, 2023, in Perth, Australia, Volkanovki collides with dominant Samboist and newly-minted Lightweight champion, Islam Makhachev.

An underdog for most of his path to the title and then some of his title fights, the story is no different for “The Great” in his upcoming match up.

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CHAMPIONSHIP TRILOGY! Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) returns to The O2 in London England, on Sat., March 18, 2023, with newly-minted Welterweight kingpin, Leon Edwards, running it back with former 170-pound champion, Kamaru Usman, for a third (and likely final) time. In UFC 286’s pay-per-view (PPV) co-main event, all-action Lightweight knockout artists, Justin Gaethje and Rafael Fiziev, will lock horns with the winner inching closer to a future Lightweight title shot.

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“I’m f—king tiny — I’ve always been short,” Volkanovski said on FREESTYLEBENDER (h/t MMA Fighting). “That’s just how it is. Even the Featherweights are taller than me. But you can see in his face like, ‘This guy ain’t too big.’ I’ve seen that on plenty of people’s faces. I’ve seen that on my previous fights. My last four, five fights, but that face quickly changes when I’m in the Octagon.

“Give me 10 seconds with him, that face changes real quick. All of a sudden that size doesn’t matter, all of a sudden my footwork, ‘Where’s this guy at? I’m in a puzzle, he’s already giving drama,’” he continued. “Then I put my hands on him, there’s another problem. Then they try to grab ahold of me and I’m a little brick f—king wall, there’s another problem. That’s when you see them start to crumble and be like, ‘F—k, what have I got myself into?’ That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Islam, especially the way he’s looking. I can tell he really thinks he’s going to be way too strong.”

Makhachev has proven to be a superior grappler compared to other mixed martial arts (MMA) skills during his career. That isn’t to say he can’t strike, however. Volkanovski just feels he’s the more well-rounded of the two champions and believes it will play a significant factor when they meet.

“There’s so many layers to how many problems I can give you, and that’s the thing,” Volkanovski said. “People go, ‘Oh, this, this, and this.’ I’ve got one thing to worry about. People are talking about his strength and size, but I’m not too fussed about that. It’s grappling. It’s pretty obvious what he wants to do. He’s got a lot more things to worry about.

“Look, I’m not saying he can’t strike for s—t,” he added. “He’s calculated, he’s patient, he does things well, it works really well for his game, but when it comes to problems, he’s got a lot more problems to deal with. I’ve got one big problem. That grappling, it’s a big problem, but preparation is everything, and I’m doing the preparation. I’m doing what needs to be done.”

Remember that will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 284 fight card right here, starting with the early ESPN+ “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard on ESPN/ESPN+ at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+ PPV.

To check out the latest and greatest UFC 284: “Islam vs. Volkanovski” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.

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