Islam Makhachev Wants to Alter Perceptions, KO Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 284
Like Khabib Nurmagomedov before him, Islam Makhachev has made his name in the UFC through his wrestling and grappling.
The recently crowned lighweight champion wants to change that perception in his showdown with reigning featherweight king Alexander Volkanovski in the UFC 284 main event.
“Honestly, I want to knock him out, because everybody says [that] Islam a grappler or wrestler, but I want to show people my striking,” Makhachev told ESPN Deportes. “He is a short guy, and I really believe I can knock him out.”
Conversely, Volkanovski, who is in the midst of a 22-fight winning streak, is confident than he matches up well with his opponent in the wrestling department. According to Makhachev, the size differential will be a rude awakening for the City Kickboxing representative.
“This is not his area,” Makhachev said. “I’m from other division. This is not the same power. It’s not the same, and he’s going to understand this, but he wants to try because he’s not losing. If he loses, what is he going to lose? Just belt with him, but he wants to try to jump and make some good money, make some pay-per-view money, but this is not his area.”
One big storyline heading into UFC 284 is Nurmagomedov’s recent decision to step away from his role as coach to devote more time to family. Makhachev says that while the ex-champ isn’t around as much in the gym, he still provides input for the game plan.
“We miss him in the gym always,” Makhachev said. “He’s not spending a lot of time in the gym because he travels a lot with business and family. He still calls me and gives me good advice. We make the plan together. Now he just stays with his family.”
If he is victorious in Perth on Saturday night, Makhachev has designs on facing a contender from the lightweight division next.
“Honestly I want to fight [Beneil] Dariush. I hope he wins his next fight. Because he has a good win streak. It’s gonna be a big match,” he said.
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