clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

‘Struggling’ Islam Makhachev facing ‘killer weight cut’ ahead of UFC 284 — ‘He’s feeling a little frail’

Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski came face-to-face at the conclusion of the UFC 284 press conference on Friday morning (watch it) and it was the first time the lightweight champion (Makhachev) and featherweight titleholder (Volkanovski) had a chance to size each other up since they first bumped bridges back in January.

LIVE! Watch UFC 286 PPV On ESPN+ Here!

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.

Don’t miss a single second of EPIC face-punching action!

The difference the second time around is that Makhachev is facing a “killer weight cut” in order to make the 155-pound limit, which is probably why a trip to welterweight is somewhere in his future. Volkanovski did not miss the opportunity to remind his “skinnier” opponent that only one of them was eating well and feeling strong.

“I’ve been feeling more cockiness out of him from some interviews and all that type of stuff. I knew that was gonna change. Right now he’s struggling with weight cuts, he’s feeling a little frail,” Volkanovski told Submission Radio. “I just said, ‘you ready?’. And he’s like, ‘yeah, of course’. He has a weight cut. Obviously, he looks a little skinnier than even just a few days ago. So, obviously I was always gonna touch on that, just let him keep remembering that he needs to do that killer weight cut tonight. But yeah, he was like, ‘how are you? All good?’ I’m like, ‘don’t worry, I’m strong’. And that’s when he went for the grab. And I’m sure he felt the guns, you know what I mean? He wasn’t smirking as much as he usually does or he has been. Obviously, he looked a little drawn out. But again, yeah, I enjoyed it.”

Volkanovski, who’s been nothing short of dominant as UFC featherweight champion, is moving up in weight to challenge Makhachev for the lightweight title in the UFC 284 pay-per-view (PPV) headliner this weekend in Perth. In his absence, top contenders Yair Rodriguez and Josh Emmett will battle for the interim 145-pound strap.

No word yet on what the promotion plans to do if Volkanovski wins, at least in terms of his first title defense. With a substitute strap in place to keep the featherweight assembly line moving, there may be a little more championship urgency in the lightweight division, particularly with this blockbuster fight just around the corner. 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. For the updated and finalized UFC 284 PPV fight card and ESPN+ lineup click here.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the MMA Mania Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of all your fighting news from MMA Mania