Islam Makhachev’s coach, Javier Mendez, revealed Makhachev is interested in a rematch against Alexander Volkanovski.
On February 11, Makhachev emerged victorious against Volkanovski in one of the year’s most intriguing matchups thus far. Although the reigning UFC lightweight world champion won by unanimous decision, some people believed ‘The Great’ should have had his hand raised.
During an interview on Jibber with Jaber, Mendez had this to say about Makhachev potentially taking on Volkanovski in a rematch:
“Islam [Makhachev] won that fight, but was it a tough fight? H*ll yeah. Was it tougher than I thought? H*ll yeah. Did he gain my full respect? H*ll yeah, he got my respect. Am I looking forward to the rematch if they have one? H*ll yeah. I want that rematch. I know Islam wants it too. We’re not dodging nothing. If the UFC puts that match together, it’s gonna happen. It’s gonna happen willingly on both parties. They’re gonna want it, we’re gonna want it. I would hope they would make it a huge event because that fight delivered.”
Before the UFC can consider a rematch, Volkanovski has business to take care of in the featherweight division. At UFC 290, ‘The Great’ is looking to regain undisputed championship status against the interim featherweight title-holder Yair Rodriguez. Meanwhile, Makhachev awaits a worthy title contender in the lightweight division.
Watch Javier Mendez’s interview on Jibber With Jaber below:
Javier Mendez says Alexander Volkanovski’s team was surprised that Islam Makhachev outstruck him
According to UFC Stats, Alexander Volkanovski outstruck Islam Makhachev in significant strikes (70 to 57) and total strikes (164 to 95). With that said, Makhachev landed significant strikes at a high percentage (60% to 48%). Volkanovski also scored a knockdown in their UFC 284 bout.
During the same interview on Jibber with Jaber, Javier Mendez claimed that Volkanovski’s team was surprised that Makhachev was able to outstrike the UFC featherweight champion:
“One of the things that I know that they were shocked is they got outstruck. They got outstruck. Islam outstruck him, not by a lot, but he outstruck him. I don’t think they were expecting that. The respect factor for Islam’s striking was not as high as it is now.”
To be fair, the stats don’t always describe what happened in a fight. Makhachev showed improvements in his striking, which likely surprised Volkanovski. It also should be noted that ‘The Great’ did a lot of damage in the final round, inflating his stats. Only time will tell if the UFC champions meet for a rematch in the future.