Current UFC 145-pound king Alexander Volkanovski wants to become the promotion’s next two-division champ, however American Kickboxing Academy coach Javier Mendez doesn’t see him getting past Islam Makhachev.
Submission Radio recently interviewed Mendez and he said that Makhachev’s takedown abilities would be too much for the smaller fighter. So, although Volkanovski is coming off a dominant win over another pound-for-pound great in Max Holloway, Mendez doesn’t see Volkanovski as a “huge threat” to Makhachev.
“I don’t think he poses as big a threat to Islam as you would think because he’s such a master on the takedown, and Alex isn’t going to be able to stop it no matter what he does,” Mendez said via MMA Junkie. “And Islam’s stand up is so damn good that he can stand with him. So, you know, unless Alex’s ground improves tremendously, I don’t see it as a huge threat to Islam.”
Makhachev is currently ranked No. 4 in the 155-pound division and is presumably next up to fight for vacant UFC gold. He’ll likely draw the former champion, Charles Oliveira, who lost the belt a few months back after a botched weight cut.
And to Mendez, Oliveira poses much more risk to Makhachev.
“I see Oliveira as a huge threat, but I don’t see Alex,” Mendez said. “Only because he ain’t gonna be able to stop Islam from taking it to the ground, and I just don’t think he can handle Islam’s ground game.”
Volkanovski Called for a Shot at Lightweight Gold at UFC 276
After Volkanovski had his hand raised inside the Octagon over Holloway for the third time, “The Great” took the opportunity to call for a lightweight title shot.
“Max Holloway is an absolute beast,” Volkanovski said via MMA Fighting. “I just proved to you that I want to be in this octagon as much as possible. I want to be busy. I want to move up and go for double champ and I’ll keep two divisions busy.
“Charles [Oliveira], whoever gets that belt, no disrespect, I’d love to move up, get that double champ status.”
Volkanovski’s lightweight aspirations will have to be shelved for now, however. On July 7, The Great shared an x-ray of a broken thumb he sustained fighting Holloway. And according to the champ, he’ll need 12 weeks to recover from surgery.
UFC President Dana White Is Open to Volkanovski Moving Up to Lightweight
UFC president Dana White said in a recent interview with The Mac Life’s Oscar Willis that he was open to Volkanovski going for double-champ status if he beat Holloway at UFC 276.
“So, Volkanovski is one of those guys who has earned the respect of everybody, I would say, by now,” White said via Sportskeeda.com. “You know, he’s got this Holloway fight that probably makes sense for him to do this and put this behind him. Then you don’t have to hear about it anymore, and that guy can do whatever he wants to do.
“I mean, if he wants to move up and challenge somebody at ’55 or whatever he wants to do, I’m down for whatever he wants.”