“It;s going to be extra special getting both belts” Featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is desperate to defeat Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 in order to keep his No.1 pound-for-pound ranking

2023 hasn’t even began and UFC 284 is already shaping up to be one of the biggest events of the year. It’s not everyday that fans get to witness fighters like Islam Makhachev (often touted as Khabib’s prodigy) and Alexander Volkanovski (P4P top fighter in UFC men’s rankings) duke it out inside the octagon.

Khabib seemed to be on his way towards greatness following the Conor fight, he seemed to beat up stronger opponents with more and more ease. But leaving the MMA world in shock, ‘The Eagle” announced his retirement following his victory over Justin Gaethje on UFC 254.

The absence of the Dagestani wasn’t felt for too long however, as his long time teammate Islam Makhachev quickly rose through the ranks by defeating the likes of Drew Dober, Dan Hooker, Thiago Moises, and Bobby Green. FInally, Makhachev recaptured the title by defeating Charles Oliveira on UFC 280.

Volkanovski on the other hand, has been seeing great success inside the octagon too. The former Rugby player has racked up an impressive 12-fight win streak where he defeated the likes of Brian Ortega, Korean Zombie, Veteran Jose Aldo, Hall of Famer Max Holloway (Three times).

Such impressive performances earned Alex the no.1 spot in the pound for pound rankings. Having all but cleaned up featherweight (and with potential challengers like Zabit Magomedsharipov retiring) Volk was looking to challenge himself by changing the weight division.

With the regular body mass of a middleweight, it wasn’t very practical to cut back to Bantamweight so moving up seemed like the reasonable option. ‘The Great’ was a backup fighter for Islam vs Oliveira and was present during the match. Islam called him out for a match in the post-match interview and the two fighters had a face-off on spot.

Later UFC confirmed that the bout was scheduled for February which led to widespread speculation amongst fight and fighters alike discussing how the fight may go. Many favored Islam Makhachev to win owing to his superior wrestling skills, height advantage and ground control prowess.

The Australian fighter doesn’t seem to take these comparison’s very well. He recently spoke on Michael Bisping’s podcast, “No disrespect to them, but that’s why this fight is so big to me. It’s the Dagestani wrestling, no one can figure this out, they’re on a roll and all that.”

“Khabib’s there. Islam, what he’s been doing his last few fights. All that. I was chasing the champ-champ, that’s what motivated me before I knew who I was fighting. As soon as Islam won and the people talked, something was just like, bang, that’s all that I cared about is taking out Islam” Volk continued.

UFC 284 is set to take place on February 12, 2023.

Amir Khosru

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A graduate in Linguistics Studies from Jahangirnagar University, hailing from the city of Khulna(Bangladesh). Currently working as a Content Writer who covers Combat Sports. Passionate in a lot of fields including (But not limited to) Reading, Gaming, Travelling, Strolling, Food, UFC, Anime, and whatnot!


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