- Alexander Volkanovski’s jiu-jitsu trainer praised Islam Makhachev ahead of UFC 284
- The trainer admitted Islam’s ground game is better than Volk’s and everybody else
UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev will begin the year 2023 with a super title fight against reigning pound-for-pound king and featherweight champ Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284. Surprisingly, Volk’s BJJ coach Craig Jones heaped praise on Makhachev ahead of the highly-anticipated bout.
Game recognizes game
According to Jones, Makhachev has every right to call out any grappler as his ground game is just simply “superior” to that of everybody else in the sport.
“I honestly agree when Makhachev says a lot of people deserve to have their black belts taken away,” Jones said via @Sa_Gwang on Twitter. “I kind of agree with that. I think what those guys are doing is sort of superior to what we’ve been doing for a long time. Cause we build and entire sport around conceding bottom position.”
“I’m not one of those guys that says we should grapple with people who are striking us, but I believe we should grapple as if the top guy knows how to pass and pin,” he added. “A lot of guys don’t mind being on bottom because they’ve never rolled with a guy that knows how to pass guard or pin someone. So they don’t know how fatiguing and horrible it is.”
It’s a long night on the ground
Makhachev won 11 of his 23 pro MMA fights via submission and he only needed less than two rounds to submit a world-class jiu-jitsu fighter in Charles Oliveira at UFC 280. Volkanovski, on the other hand, is a commendable wrestler himself but is not really known for submitting his opponents.
With that in mind, Jones implied that he’ll make sure Volk wouldn’t make the same mistake Makhachev’s past opponents made.
“Everyone thinks they’re good at guard until they come across a guy that really can pass well,” Jones explained. “And then suddenly they think, ‘S—t. I’d rather be standing, I’d rather be on top.’ But they don’t know to get there and if they do they don’t know how to hold someone down.”
“I think Makhachev’s grappling is superior to what a lot of the traditional jiu-jitsu guys do,” he continued. “Cause they don’t know how to hold someone down. They have no idea how to do it. So, we really gotta reverse engineer what Makhachev’s doing, which I’ve been trying to do on top, and then I’m trying to teach these guys how to do it so I can practice doing it on bottom.”
Contrary to how Jones sees the fight going down, Volkanovski previously said he is expecting a striking showdown with Makhachev.
As it stands, Volkanovski is still the best fighter in the UFC but he has been vocal about his desire to fight for the lightweight belt. Makhachev, meanwhile, will be tested for the first time as a champion.
UFC 284 will take place on Feb. 11 at the Rac Arena in Perth, Australia.