Coach Joe Lopez sees great things in the future for Alexander Volkanovski.
Coming into the fight at UFC 284 Alexander Volkanovski was being overlooked by many. The featherweight champion is the number one pound-for-pound fighter in the UFC but moving up in weight to face lightweight champion Islam Makhachev was a tall order. Being undersized with something that Volkanovski knew coming into this bout and he had a plan to overcome that deficit. He followed his plan perfectly and put on a very competitive fight against the lightweight champ. In the end, it was Makhachev who came out on top and retained the belt.
In the wake of the decision, many people thought that Volkanovski had done enough. There were even talks of an immediate rematch, the UFC tweeted about it, and both parties were interested, but it’s unsure if that will happen. On the very same night, a featherweight interim champion was crowned and it seems now that Volkanovski will return 145 pounds to challenge Yair Rodriguez. His coach Joe Lopez thinks this will be the next option but will never rule out a rematch with Makhachev.
“We’ve got an opponent in Yair and you know he’s a good opponent, he’s a nice guy too,” he said to The All Star. “Then hopefully later on in the year we get this rematch with Islam. I don’t know whether Islam is going to defend his belt again. I know Ramadan is coming up and it’s very hard for those guys during that period to train, so let’s look and see. There’s a lot of things going on at the moment.”
Joe Lopez believes that Alexander Volkanovski’s stock rose at UFC 284
Leading up to their title fight many people believed that the winner would be crowned the pound-for-pound number one. Volkanovski lost but remains at the top of the list. Joe Lopez, longtime head coach for Volkanovski thinks that this fight did wonders for Volkanovski‘s legendary status and his stock in the UFC.
“Usually when you lose your stocks go down. I mean, I think a lot of people that were there a lot of people witnessed, messages I’ve been getting, I think even Islam fans believe that Alex won that fight, or even if they don’t, it was such a close fight, you know, and no one gave Alex any sort of chance at all,” he said. “A lot of Islam fans and people in America, they just wrote Alex off, he was going to be too small and watching what Islam had done to all his other opponents, he just sort of walked through them, you know, and here’s Alex, the lighter weight guy and he’s playing with him. He’s laughing at him.”
This was the first loss for Volkanovski in ten years. Whatever comes next whether it be fighting at featherweight or another title shot at lightweight he is bound to continue to grow in popularity, and skill.