Alexander Volkanovski: If Islam Makhachev was a featherweight, ‘I’d squash him’
UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski turned his attention to a rematch with lightweight title holder Islam Makhachev after losing at UFC 284.
Volkanovski believes he won rounds 2, 3 and 5 of last Saturday’s title superfight and said the result did not resolve the pound for pound debate he started. Makhachev earned a 48-47 unanimous decision twice and 49-46 to defend the lightweight title in Perth, Australia.
“A lot of people thought I won this fight, I thought I won this fight and I got up,” Volkanovski said on Monday. Hour of MMA. “We’re talking pound for pound. Imagine if we were in the same weight class. I don’t want to be that guy, but if he was a featherweight in my division, I would crush him. … It’s a walk in the park. No offense to him, but it’s legal.
“I think I still proved that I am the best fighter and I am #1 in the weight class. But that’s none of my business.”
As confident as Volkanovski was about winning, he stated that the lightweight champion wasn’t sure of his victory immediately after the fight.
“I think he thought he might have lost,” the featherweight champion said. “He even said, ‘We need to have a rematch’ to his corner when he returned to his corner. He didn’t say lose, but I mean, he thought, “We need to have a rematch,” thinking that they would raise a hand against me.
“Then he ended up telling people behind the scenes in the media that he wanted a rematch anyway. So he knows. I don’t clean anything – it was hand-to-hand combat.”
Makhachev denied Volkanovskiy’s version of his words after the last call. He said that his victory made him the best fighter in the world. But, according to Volkanovski, the lightweight champion and the UFC agree on the possibility of a rematch, although there have been no formal negotiations.
Volkanovski is not one to claim his place in the sport. At the same time, he believes that a different set of judges could have easily declared him the winner after seeing the same fight, and he still feels like the No. 1 fighter in the weight class.
However, Makhachev can correct him. As to whether that will happen, Volkanovski is cautiously optimistic. He’s spent most of his career trying to convince fans of his superiority after a couple of hand-to-hand fights with now former champion Max Holloway, and he believes Makhachev will want the same.
According to him, no matter what happens next, the character of the Dagestan champion will be revealed.
“I think it depends on him,” Volkanovski said. “He knows it will leave a bad taste in the mouth of a lot of people. I’ve been here before. I know what it’s like and he’s going to want to prove it to people. I would be in his place. I wouldn’t be happy with this. … If he doesn’t, we know why.”