Volkanovski sat cageside to watch Makhachev dismantle Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. Makhachev earned the vacant lightweight title after a 10-fight winning streak.
After Makhachev’s win, Volkanovski entered the Octagon to accept his offer to be the next man up for the lightweight title challenge. Shortly after Makhachev/Oliveira was booked, he called his shot at the winner for the chance to become a two-weight UFC champion.
Volkanovski and Makhachev have been respectful towards one another for the most part, except for Makhachev mocking the Australian’s size. Listed at 5’6″, he’ll enter a fight with Makhachev nearly a half-foot smaller than the lightweight champion.
Despite the size difference, Volkanovski is looking to prove that size isn’t a meaningful variable when it comes to a fight with Makhachev.
Alexander Volkanovski Dismisses Islam Makhachev’s Size Jabs
During his UFC 280 post-fight press conference, Volkanovski gave an insight as to what fans and pundits could expect from him at lightweight.
“Nah I look good, I’m gonna try to hold as much muscle as I can, but I don’t want to get too much bigger,” Volkanovski said. “I fight best at where I’m at, and that’s what I’m gonna do in there. I’m strong, man, people are gonna say size this and size that. Trust me, anyone who trains with me knows that strength is never a problem for me. People will find that out in February.”
Volkanovski then responded to Makhachev’s mocking of his height during the post-fight Octagon interview.
“Everyone thinks I’m short, and then I’m punching them in the face, and then the next minute their face changes real quick when I’m in front of them,” Volkanovski responded. “Is it an insult? I know I am. I’m the champ, I’m doing good, and I’m gonna keep this winning streak going. And I’m gonna show him what short people can do.”
Volkanovski served as the UFC 280 backup should anything have fallen out with the main event.
Volkanovski suffered a hand injury in his last featherweight title defense against Max Holloway at UFC 276, although it appears to be a resolved issue. He’s won 22 fights in a row and holds the UFC’s pound-for-pound No. 1 spot.
Size hasn’t been an issue for Volkanovski over his past few fights. He won three fights against the 5’11” Holloway and earned dominant wins against the taller Brian Ortega and ‘Korean Zombie’.
Volkanovski has his eyes set on a fight with Makhachev in Perth at UFC 284 and feels he has nothing to prove when it comes to the physical differences.
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