Alexander Volkanovski wants Charles Oliveira to beat Islam Makhachev.
Oliveira will take on Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280, and Volkanovski has been open about his desire for the lightweight title next time. And if he has his own drummers, the featherweight champion said he’d rather fight the Do Bronx for the lightweight belt.
“At the end of the day, I just want a belt. Which fight do you think is more important? I think the bigger fight will definitely be with Charles Oliveira,” Volkanovski explained recently on Hour of MMA. “I think he has so much hype around him. We know it’s going to be an exciting fight, it’s so exciting to watch. There’s a reason he’s so interesting to look at.
“Obviously – it’s not a shot at him, I have a lot of respect for him, but I think a lot of people miss that – they miss the fact that he takes damage. He loses most of those big, exciting fights. That’s why they are exciting. But yes, it’s a lot of fun. A lot of people are promoting him and again, I want big fights. I think Charles is definitely the bigger fight.”
This does not mean that Volkanovskiy is also against the meeting with Makhachev. After all, “The Great One” just wants a chance to prove who he is by defying the odds and joining the realm of two-division champions.
“If Islam has this title, I will fight Islam for this title. It doesn’t matter who it is, I will do anything,” Volkanovskiy said. “They both have big problems. They both have different problems and big problems, and that worries me too. Nice, big challenge, because again, I love it when people doubt me. I enjoy being an underdog and it may be a while before I become an underdog in my division. But as we move up, there will be a lot of people who think it can’t be done, and I’m going to show them that it’s possible.”
Volkanovski briefly fought for the lightweight title. But after his dominating victory over Max Holloway at UFC 276, which catapulted him to the top spot in MMA Fighting no matter what weight class, the champ reiterated his chance for a second belt, even suggesting the fight could take place on UFC return rumors. Australia in 2023.
Though he was not promised anything, Volkanovski believes he is in a good position to take on the newly crowned lightweight champion first.
“Obviously, these are your conversations, but they were never something locked up,” he said. “I’m the kind of guy I want to be busy. If not now, then maybe later. I have always looked at it this way. But at the same time, we talked about it, and they know that I deserve it too. I think we all agree and we all think it’s fair, so we’re in a good position now.”