Daniel Cormier believes UFC 294 has gotten even bigger following the recent shake-up that saw Alexander Volkanovski inserted into the main event.
On October 21, reigning lightweight world champion Islam Makhachev was scheduled to defend his title against Charles Oliveira in a long-awaited rematch in Abu Dhabi. Unfortunately, days ahead of fight night, ‘Do Bronx’ suffered a nasty cut while sparring, forcing him to withdraw from the contest. Stepping up to take his place is Volkanovski, the current featherweight titleholder who will once again look to become a two-division UFC champion.
Sharing his thoughts on the blockbuster announcement Daniel Cormier suggested that as big as UFC 294 was going to be, it’s gotten even bigger with the addition of Volkanovski in the main event.
“I think the pay-per-view actually got bigger because there is so much interest in Islam vs. Volkanovski,” Cormier said in a video on YouTube. “If people would have called for it, the rematch could have happened right now. The UFC has always been open to it. Volkanovski has already gone on and beaten somebody else. He always said he would be in Abu Dhabi.
“He always said he would keep himself readily available in case something happened. This is a very rare case though because you don’t generally get the backup guy or the guy that’s not scheduled to fight in the fight. That’s happening for Volk.”
He continued. “I believe this pay-per-view has gotten bigger. My excitement level to go to Abu Dhabi, while it was already high, is even higher. I can’t wait to get down there and watch those guys in person.”
Daniel Cormier Believes Islam Makhachev Underestimated Volkanovski in Their First Meeting
First meeting at UFC 284 in February, Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski delivered a Fight of the Year contender that saw the ‘Dagestani Destroyer’ walk away with a unanimous decision victory. However, the decision did come with a bit of controversy as many, including longtime commentator Joe Rogan, strongly believed that Volkanovski did enough to dethrone Makhachev in The Land Down Under.
Discussing their first showdown, Cormier believes Makhachev underestimated the skills of Alexander Volkanovski, a mistake he’s sure to avoid in their highly anticipated rematch.
“If there’s anybody who’s going to be in shape and ready to fight a five-round title fight in 10 days’ time, it’s Alexander Volkanovski. He’s the pound-for-pound No. 1 fighter in the world,” Cormier said. “He has shown guys time and time again the guys at 145 cannot compete with him. He has been as dominant of a champion as we’ve seen in a really long time and in the first fight with Islam, he had a lot of moments of success.
“Anytime you hear a fight like that get announced, you wonder the thoughts of the teams. Obviously, Volkanovski is very confident after how he did in the first [fight], but when you hear Islam talk or you look at his posts on Instagram, Islam immediately says, ‘Thank you for taking the fight. Don’t use it as an excuse.’ I believe in fight one, Islam may have overlooked the guy a little bit. I think he took him a little bit light because he expected to finish him.
“I thought Makhachev fought a little bit too aggressively early. If you know Islam, you know that’s not the way that he fights. I think he had this idea that he was going to finish him because he was smaller and he was surprised by how good Volkanovski is. I don’t imagine that’ll happen again this time.”
Going into the contest, Islam Makhachev is listed as a -225 favorite while Alexander Volkanovski enters the short-notice affair as a +185 underdog.
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