Firas Zahabi Wishes Alexander Volkanovski Took More Time Off Before UFC 298 Loss To Ilia Topuria: “I Think He Came Back Way Too Early”

Zahabi feels Volk's stubbornness may have been his downfall.

Alexander Volkanovski
Courtesy of @UFCNews on X

MMA coach Firas Zahabi believes Alexander Volkanovski made a mistake fighting Ilia Topuria so soon after he was knocked out by Islam Makhachev.

Volkanovski suffered his second straight knockout loss when he shared the Octagon with Topuria at UFC 298, losing the featherweight title in the process. “The Great” once ruled the 145-pound division with an iron fist, but some are wondering if his best days as an MMA fighter are now behind him.

While Zahabi believes there is some juice left in the tank for Volkanovski, he thinks the former featherweight champion needs to take an extended break.

Firas Zahabi Urges Alexander Volkanovski To Take More Time Off

Taking to his own YouTube channel, Firas Zahabi revealed what he believes the biggest issue was for Alexander Volkanovski in his loss to Ilia Topuria.

“Even on this channel I took a poll and I thought it was gonna be more closer to 50-50, no,” Zahabi said. “Very few people out there, I think it was like 70-30 in the favor of Alexander Volkanovski. Guys, I love Alexander Volkanovski. I think he’s one of the most entertaining fighters, I love the fact that he took the Makhachev rematch on a short notice, the fight that we all want to see. He’s a hero, however, I think he should’ve taken a longer break after the Islam Makhachev knockout. When he got knocked out by Makhachev, I think he came back way too early.”

Zahabi went on to say that he feels there was one key part of Volk’s game that was missing on fight night.

“I would like to see him wrestle early,” Zahabi said. “More wrestling, striking wrestling.”

Zahabi believes that Volkanovski would’ve been best served to mix up his kickboxing and wrestling. He feels it would’ve paid dividends if “The Great” had made it to the championship rounds.

“The fact that it’s a five-round [fight], I give that advantage to Volkanovski,” Zahabi said. “He’s done a lot more five-rounders, he’s prepped for a lot more five-round fights. It’s very different when you have 10 extra minutes.”

Is “The Great” Past His Prime?

Zahabi was then asked if Volkanovski is done being at the top of the food chain in pro MMA competition. 

“I hope not, but he does have a lot of miles on him,” Zahabi said. “He’s been in a lot of five-round fights, he’s been hit a lot,” Zahabi said. “He’s been through a lot of training camps, he’s been knocked out now twice in a row. I think he has to take some time off, and I’ve heard that Volkanovski doesn’t like to take time off, so that can be a real problem.”

The well-known MMA coach then pointed to a UFC legend who looked unstoppable before father time intervened.

“Chuck Liddell was a [light heavyweight] UFC champion, and at that time, he was the greatest champion ever, arguably,” Zahabi said. “… And then if I remember correctly, he got knocked out six times in a row, five times in a row after being hailed as one of the greats.”

What Alexander Volkanovski does next remains to be seen, but there is no doubt that his legacy is already etched in stone. Volk is certainly one of the greatest featherweights of all time. and his place in MMA history is well established.

Here is the full video from Firas Zahabi:

Published on February 21, 2024 at 12:02 pm
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