Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski sat down with The MMA Hour’s Ariel Helwani earlier this week to preview his February 11 showdown with current lightweight champ Islam Makhachev. Volk, currently considered the pound-for-pound greatest male fighter in the UFC, expressed excitement at the chance to take on the much-feared Dagestani wrestler in a new weight class.
“I love the underdog story,” Volk told Helwani, regarding the 145-pound king’s move up in weight to face a physically larger champion. “I love […] being the underdog, and people saying that I’m undersized, and all that type of stuff. That just adds to the story, that’s gonna add to the victory, you know? You talk about legacy, winning the champ-champ and all that, that’s cool, but beating guys like Islam while doing that, that’s different. Not many people can really say they moved up, and won a title off an opponent like Islam.”
Although former lightweight king and Dagestani teammate Khabib Nurmagomedov will not be cornering Islam on February 11, Volkanovski does not believe that Islam will be any less dangerous for it. “I know people push narratives and all that type of stuff, but at the end of the day, Islam’s a great fighter,” Volk told Helwani. “He’s the one who’s going in there and doing his work, and Khabib will tell you that himself.”
Check out the full interview on YouTube.