The coach for Alex Volkanovski, Joe Lopez is not worried about the size difference in the fight against Islam Makhachev.
The featherweight king, Alexander Volkanovski is preparing to make the jump up to lightweight and challenge the newly crowned champion, Islam Makhachev for that belt. Volkanovski is the pound-for-pound number one in all of the UFC and he is taking a chance at possibly losing that title in order to become a dual division champion. It is not an easy task to make the jump up in weight and try to take on the champion in a heavier division, especially against someone so dominant as Makhachev, but Volkanovski is up for the challenge.
Much has been made of the size discrepancy between these two men. Volkanaovski is a bit short even for his division of 145 pounds and on the flip side, Makhachev is large at 155 pounds. The two were involved in a face-off recently and the internet began to go wild over the size difference. Volkanovski is not worried about his height being a factor, he explains that he has been written off his entire life due to his size. Now his coach Joe Lopez is chiming in on the issue.
Joe Lopez, the longtime coach for Alexander Volkanovski thinks the size differences will not be a factor
Lopez is a coach at Freestyle MMA in New South Wales, Australia, home to Volkanovski. Lopez has trained the champ for years and has no doubt about his ability to perform at 155 pounds. He spoke about this while a guest on the Submission Radion Podcast.
“I’ve been around Alex from day one so I’ve got to see him spar all different variety of people and I’ve seen coaches say to their fighters as they’re trying to do this, do that, you know, and they don’t realize what it’s like when Alex is standing in front of you. He’s a different beast you don’t know whether he’s moving left or he’s moving right, and it really takes your game plan out,” he said. “And then the other thing is, Alex has always been strong. I mean, super, super strong.”
Lopez feels that the added pounds and not having to cut as much weight will be a positive factor in Volkanovski’s preparedness. Makhachev being on the bigger side of 155 pounds means he must cut weight to get down to that limit.
“The funny thing is when we’re getting in fight week when people are getting, most fighters are getting weaker and depleted, he actually gets stronger for some reason. I think he just gets into his head that it’s game time,” Lopez said.
This bout between champion and champion will be happening at UFC 284 in Perth Australia on February 11. The lightweight belt will be in the line. Either Makhachev will come out as the number one pound-for-pound fighter or Volkanovski will come out holding two belts, either way, both men seem ready to bring the fireworks and the Australian fans will be entertained.