Ghosts have a way of haunting UFC champions.
UFC featherweight titleholder, Alex Volkanovski, will soon make his return to MMA for the first time since his devastating knockout loss to lightweight kingpin Islam Makhachev, a hastily assembled rematch that pulled the portly Aussie off the couch with less than two weeks to prepare.
Now several months removed from the “hurt” of his Makhachev loss, Volkanovski insists he’s “completely moved on” from his most recent performance, thanks to the preparation of his Ilia Topuria title fight in the UFC 298 headliner this weekend in Anaheim.
“I’ve completely moved on,” Volkanovski (26-3) told Main Event. “That’s one good thing about me, as soon as I’ve got a job in front of me or a goal, that’s it, I’m locked in. That was the case. Once I knew I was fighting Ilia I was able to move on, but it was just about the right time. Obviously I don’t like losing, so that did hurt, but at the same time I try to challenge myself and do something that was always going to be a tall ask. It just shows you how important preparation is. It was easier for me to move on and sort of lock in, take preparatIon seriously, because we don’t want a result like last time.”
Volkanovski, 35, has just two losses in 15 fights under the UFC banner — both to Makhachev.
The 27 year-old Topuria (14-0) kept his undefeated streak intact by knocking around featherweight bruiser Josh Emmett at UFC on ABC 5 last June. “El Matador” was able to leapfrog the rest of the Top 5 because Volkanovski and longtime rival, Max Holloway, have done a pretty good job of shutting down most of the eligible contenders.
“He’s gonna be embarrassed, eat some of his words, and it’s gonna be maybe the start of his journey,” Volkanovski told his YouTube followers. “He’s young, he is confident. I’ll humble him, he’ll bounce back and start after I give him a good beating. Round two, I think. I think I crumble him in the first. I’m not saying that he’s gonna be an easy fight, but I think just how confident he is, he hasn’t been able to prove that. I prove that every time I step in this gym. I push myself to the limits. I don’t know if he does. He doesn’t act like it so I’m gonna push him, and I think I crumble him inside one and I get the finish soon after that.”
To see who else is fighting at UFC 298 click here.