Islam Makhachev currently holds the UFC lightweight title. In the main event of UFC 280 last Saturday, the Russian clinched the title for the first time after defeating Charles Oliveira. Islam is currently on an 11-fight winning streak and has won 23 of his last 24 professional MMA matches.
— UFC (@ufc) October 23, 2022
Alexander Volkanovski was the backup fighter for UFC 280, and he currently holds the UFC featherweight title. This Australian fighter has offered Islam a fight after the main event of UFC 280 for the No.1 position in the UFC pound for pound ranking.
Islam agreed to the fight, and it is expected that the fight will take place at UFC 284, which will be held in Volkanovski’s home country, Australia. But as Volkanovski walked into the ring for the invitation, the Dagestani fighter called him “Short Guy,” which caused a stir.
— ESPN MMA (@espnmma) October 22, 2022
That time, Volkanovski didn’t react at all, but in a recent interview he shared his perspective on that comment. The Australian champion believes that Islam was just underestimating him as a featherweight fighter, which was the main reason for that quirky remark.
“It’s funny, I feel like he’s underestimating me in a sense where I’m just a featherweight, a small featherweight. How am I gonna be able to handle his strength? You know what I mean? That’s how he’s looking at it, which is gonna be a shock when we face off. When we are in that octagon all week, he might be looking at me, thinking I’m small and all that type of stuff.”
The Featherweight champion feels that this type of thinking will backfire for Islam as the Russian champ considers Volkanovski is not a good fighter. Volkanvski believes that he will give a really hard time to the Dagestani fighter.
“But as soon as I’m in front of him, getting him uncomfortable on the feet, making him wanna shoot desperately for a takedown because he’s uncomfortable. Then when he tries to grab a hold of me, realizes, “Oh sh*t! This man isn’t as weak as I thought,’ struggles to get me down, or even when he does get me down and I start getting back up. Mentally, he’s breaking. This stuff is gonna get to him because this is not what he’s expecting.”