Entering this week, UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski was looking ahead to the next defense of his title.
After most recently retaining the belt with a knockout victory over Yair Rodríguez this past July at UFC 290, Volkanovski’s desire to compete again this year didn’t look set to come to fruition.
Instead, the Australian was being lined up to share the Octagon with undefeated contender Ilia Topuria at the very first pay-per-view of 2024, expected to take place in Toronto, Canada.
Now, however, Volkanovski is calling in the cavalry to help him prepare for a fight in just over a week’s time. On October 21, “Alexander the Great” will headliner UFC 294 in a rematch against Islam Makhachev for the lightweight title.
The late-notice second dance came together following the withdrawal of Charles Oliveira, who pulled out after suffering a nasty cut in training prior to traveling to the Middle East.
With that, a second opportunity has arisen for Volkanovski to achieve ‘champ-champ’ status, and he sees it as a ‘pressure-free’ shot at further glory.
Volkanovski Outlines One-Sided ‘Pressure’ Against Makhachev
During a video recently uploaded to his YouTube channel, Volkanovski gave his reaction to news that he’ll be challenging Makhachev for the second time this year next weekend.
The pair previously met eight months ago in Perth, Australia, where the lightweight champ narrowly escaped with the belt still in his possession after a close and competitive five-round battle.
Leading into the second chapter of their rivalry, Volkanovski insists that all the “pressure” lies on the side of the matchup that has long been preparing for a scrap at the Abu Dhabi-held event.
“If anyone can do this on 12 days’ notice, off the couch as they would say, it’s me. I get to go and shock the world,” Volkanovski said. “Luckily, I’m always training. Have I been on holidays? Yeah. Have I had a couple drinks here and there? Yeah, I have. But I guess that makes me feel a little bit fresh.
“Let’s go out and finish this guy,” Volkanovski continued. “No pressure on me, baby. No pressure at all. All the pressure is on him. I’m coming off the couch! You better do something about it!”
While he’ll once again enter the cage to take on Makhachev as an underdog, Volkanovski came inches away from shocking the world this past February Down Under.
Having not got it done on home soil, “Alexander the Great” will now target two-weight success on enemy turf.
THIS IS NOT A DRILL 😱
Charles Oliveira is out of next Saturday's #UFC294 main event, @AlexVolkanovski is replacing in a rematch for the Lightweight title with @MakhachevMMA
[ @InAbuDhabi | #InAbuDhabi | @VisitAbuDhabi ] pic.twitter.com/zR3Nlqzl7P
— UFC (@ufc) October 11, 2023
Read Also: Islam Makhachev Sends A Message To Alexander Volkanovski After Confirmation Of Short-Notice UFC 294 Main Event
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