‘Islam Runs Away From Nobody!’ Islam Makhachev’s Coach Responds To Alexander Volkanovski’s Latest Claims

Javier Mendez has an issue with Volkanovski's recent comments.

Mendez Islam Volk
(via @islam_makhachev - Instagram)

Islam Makhachev isn’t running from a rematch with Alexander Volkanovski… at least, that’s what Makhachev’s head coach Javier Mendez has to say on the matter.

The UFC Lightweight Champion is set to fight once more in 2023 and will be taking on a former foe in his second title defense. Instead of fighting Volkanovski (who just had surgery on his left arm), Makhachev will duke it out with former champ Charles Oliveira in the main event of UFC 294 in Abu Dhabi.

Mendez On Makhachev’s Destiny

Coach Mendez is more than content with the Oliveira matchup and a potential future at welterweight, but understands there is still a score to settle between Makhachev and Volkanovski— who fought to a controversial split decision at UFC 284.

“Oliveira’s came to the table, that’s fantastic,” Mendez said on his podcast. “I want that match because it’s the best match to have. Then I would really like to see Islam, challenge himself [at welterweight] if he still wants to challenge ’cause Islam wanted it, remember it’s not me. If I never heard Islam say ‘I wanna go to welterweight’, I would’ve just left it alone. But I know is Islam does want to go to welterweight. So based on the fact that he said it, and he said it to me also, so I wouldn’t mind him going after those guys.

“But there’s still unfinished business that people are gonna wanna see with Alex. They’re gonna wanna see that unfinished business.”

Mendez: Volkanovski Is The Featherweight GOAT

If Volkanovski wants to fight Makhachev, he’ll have to get through his next title challenger at featherweight first, that being Ilia Topuria. Win or lose, Mendez already regards the Volkanovski as the greatest featherweight to ever do it.

“Let’s see if Alex, in the meantime, gets a fight with Ilia Topuria. That ain’t no cakewalk. That’s gonna be a Yair type scenario. I’m sorry. That’s gonna be a fight that he’s gonna have to prove that one, more than anything. He’s gonna get some of his own medicine and on top of the fact, Ilia’s got good wrestling and he’s got jiu-jitsu. That fight there is gonna be a well-rounded fight.

“Maybe Alex overwhelms him with his vast experience and, and, and talent. ’cause he is a talent, he is one of the greatest. he is the greatest featherweight of all time and he’s definitely on track to being a top tier, one of the best of all time, along with the Jon Jones’ and the Khabib’s and the GSP’s. Alex is right up there, right up there with those guys. Izzy [Israel Adesanya], too. Izzy’s gonna be one of the greats also.”

Volkanovski Claims Makhachev Is ‘Running’ Away From Rematch, Mendez Responds

Mendez has no problem calling ‘The Great’, you know, great. However, the AKA coach is not okay with Volkanovski acting like Makhachev is purposely avoiding a fight with him.

“You running brotha,” Volkanovski tweeted to Makhachev last week. “You don’t want this smoke.”

“This is the deal, straight up, Islam runs away from nobody,” Mendez responded to Volkanovski. “The UFC puts it in front of him. This is what you got. Islam isn’t deciding. The UFC is deciding. They decide. Islam has said it many a times. I don’t decide, you pick, I fight and that’s it.”

“Now he has stated he wants Leon. Yes, but they never picked Leon, it’s whoever they want him to fight. But at one point, at one point is gonna wanna go to welterweight. If he continues, you know, taking care of the, the challengers down below, he’s gonna want to challenge himself because he’s gonna want that legacy. That’s a legacy fight. That’s a fight that’s gonna put him in the pound-for-pound of all time rate rankings. Not saying number one pound-for-pound, but that could have put him right up there. Let’s see what happens. But that’s a fight that Islam’s gonna want.”

‘Things Will Be Different’ In Rematch

Mendez continued in his rant, stating the inevitable rubber match will play out much differently. 

“Alex for me, as a rematch, I want also. But, let’s see if the UFC wants it. The UFC wants it.I know Team Khabib wants it and, and would never shy away from that. But you know, it’s gonna be a different fight next time around. It won’t be the same for them and it won’t be the same for us. A lot of things will be different.

“Number one, we’ll have an extra 12 hours to rehydrate. If you look at it realistically, Islam came in the lightest he’s ever come into a fight after losing weight cause he loses a lot of weight. So for Islam to come in, and he was two pounds according to the official weigh-ins, he was two pounds lighter at fight time. That’s because he had less time to recover. So he came in lighter.

“Come fight time, [Volkanovski] was heavier. He was the shorter guy. He was the heavier guy. In all honesty, if you look at weight cutting and rehydration and strength, who was at the strongest point? Islam normally puts on three to four more kilos. Okay. So Islam was probably three to four kilos less than what he normally fights at. So, who’s at an advantage? Let’s be honest, who’s at an advantage? Volkanovski.”


Published on July 25, 2023 at 1:30 pm
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