Islam Makhachev, recently crowned UFC lightweight champion, will be defending his title in a highly anticipated match on Saturday night for the very first time in a superfight against the reigning featherweight titleholder and No. 1 pound-for-pound ranked fighter in the world, Alexander Volkanovski.
It’s a massive undertaking for Makhachev, who will not only be defending his title against another world champion but doing so in their home country as the UFC heads to Australia for the first time in nearly four years. Appearing at the UFC 284 media event, Makhachev addressed why he wanted to take on such a tough challenge immediately after capturing UFC gold in October.
“If I just defended my belt against someone, whoever’s next there, it’s not the same, you know? If I beat Volkanovski, I’m gonna be the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. This is my dream. That’s why we called out Alex.
“I believe he is the best fighter in the world right now in the rankings of course, but I know I’m the best fighter. Best MMA fighter because I have all skills. Striking. Wrestling. Grappling. I am the best MMA fighter I believe.”
Islam Makhachev via … spinning elbow? 🧐🧐 #UFC284 pic.twitter.com/NDqWUKX3Bg
— MMA Junkie (@MMAJunkie) February 9, 2023
Islam Makhachev Ready to Deliver on His Prediction, Just as He Did Against Charles Oliveira
With 11 submission victories in 23 career wins, Makhchaev has proven himself as one of the most dangerous fighters in the world on the ground, but when the cage door shuts behind them at the RAC Arena in Perth on Saturday night, Makhachev will look to put a stamp on things with a spectacular knockout finish of the reigning 145-pound king.
“Every second I’m going to try to finish him, but my goal, I want to knock him out.
“My goal, I want to knock out him because I have everything for that. Last fight before the fight, all week, and I [told] the media I want to choke (Charles) Oliveira because he had the most finishes in the UFC and [that is] what I did. Same goal here. I want to knock him out.”
Though Makhachev is best known for smothering his opponents and scoring submissions, he is no stranger to getting the job done with his fists. The Dagestani destroyer has earned four career wins via knockout, his most recent coming against Bobby Green one year ago.