Alexander Volkanovski Says Short Stature is an Advantage Against Islam Makhachev: ‘I’ll Fight For Every Millimeter’

Alexander Volkanovski believes his lower center of gravity will play a role in thwarting the takedown attempts of Islam Makhachev at UFC 284

Alexander Volkanovski
Courtesy of @MMAJunkie on Twitter

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is in deep preparation for his champion vs. champion showdown come February 11th.

Volkanovski, the No. 1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world, will look to add another piece of UFC gold to his mantle when he takes on newly crowned lightweight king Islam Makhachev in the main event of UFC 284. ‘The Great’ will go for two-division glory in his home country of Australia as the promotion heads to Perth for its second pay-per-view event of 2023. 

Ahead of the highly anticipated showdown, Alexander Volkanovski joined Michael Bisping on the former middleweight champion’s YouTube channel to share some details on how he is preparing to dethrone Khabib Nurmagomedov’s prized protege. 

“This is a bigger camp than usual. I usually do an eight-week camp. I train all year round and I’m usually reasonably fit, but we had a good structure from about 10-12 weeks out. We made sure we’ll bring in our guys to train with and really just start nailing down on certain techniques and things that we might need to do and things like that. Usually, I don’t have that type of structure until about eight weeks out so obviously I’m taking this one seriously. I take every fight serious. I go above and beyond, but this one we really are going above and beyond.”

For Volkanovski, the most important thing is breaking down the process of Islam Makhachev’s takedowns to both prevent them from happening and to recover in the event that he is put on his back during their main event clash.

“We’re getting a whole lot of different looks. Obviously, their wrestling is a high level. Their grappling and control, especially Islam, are really good at pinning and holding people down, things like that so we’re obviously breaking down a lot of their movements and things like the techniques that they like to do and the way they go about their control which is usually a little bit different to your normal jiu-jitsu guys and all that.”

“I’ve spent most of my camp in these sh*tty positions. The worst positions you can think of. The most latest stage submissions. The latest stage dominant positions, all that type of stuff. A lot of people just prevent getting there. If the fight doesn’t go there, good. That’s a bonus, but I need to be prepared. I need to be ready if it does get there because there’s a good chance. He might get a takedown. He might get a nice trip or whatever it is. I won’t be surprised if he doesn’t, but if it does, I guarantee you this, I’m gonna be composed, I’m gonna be calm and I’m going to be fighting my a** off to get back to my feet.”

Alexander Volkanovski on His Height Being An Advantage Against Grapple Heavy Opponents

Much of Islam Makhachev’s trash-talk towards Alexander Volkanovski has been aimed at the featherweight champion’s height. Listed at 5’6″, ‘The Great’ is shorter than the average fighter, and Makhachev who stands at 5’10” tall. However, Volkanovski sees this as an advantage going into their UFC 284 meeting. With Makhachev’s grapple-heavy approach, Volkanovski believes his lower center of gravity will help him stay on his feet and make it easier to get to his feet if necessary.

“Of course. I guess that’s just science isn’t it? Like a low center of gravity. Physics. That’s the word. That’s just facts. Just how it is, even when I played rugby league, I was hard to tackle because I was short and stocky and could always get a quick play the ball. Easy for me to get up because of that short, so it’s not only harder to take down, it’s a lot easier to scramble and get back to your feet. I’m an inch away from getting to my knees and getting to my feet, you know what I mean. 

“A couple little shoots or a couple little turns and things and I’m half up. That’s the difference here and people obviously when they grapple me, they totally understand that. They blow out obviously about my strength and even when they’re on top just trying to hold they’re like, ‘How can I just put all my weight and hold this guy? What’s going on?’ It’s me understanding the game me fighting for every millimeter and I’ll fight for every millimeter for the whole 25 minutes and a lot of people give up when things don’t go their way, but I don’t. I always find a way. I’m a problem solver. I always have been and I’m gonna figure it out.”

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