Friday, June 24, 2022

Volkanovski Explains Why He’s A “Big Threat” To The Lightweight Division

UFC Featherweight Champion Alexander Volkanovski has named which factors make him a massive threat to the lightweight division.

Having extended his dominance at 145 pounds with the brutal beating of “The Korean Zombie” Chan Sung Jung at UFC 273 in April, Volkanovski has frequently expressed the grand plans he has to enhance his legacy in the sport.

To do so, and to further stake his claim to be included in the GOAT conversation, Volkanovski is looking to join an elite group of UFC titleholders: the champ-champ club.

Membership currently includes the first to hold two belts simultaneously, Conor McGregor, as well as Daniel Cormier, Georges St-Pierre, Henry Cejudo, Amanda Nunes, and Randy Couture. Having added three title defenses to his résumé, Volkanovski is looking to add some Australian flair to the two-division society soon.

Having suggested he’s earned the opportunity to challenge for a second piece of gold following the April 9 pay-per-view, the featherweight king has since been explaining why he believes success at a higher weight is attainable.

During an interview with TMZ Sports, Volkanovski highlighted his experience jostling with rugby players and with welterweights in the gym as evidence he’s well prepared to ascend above the featherweight border.

“I think I’ve had, probably more welterweight fights than lightweight fights… I truly do believe (I could hold my own in the higher weight classes),” said Volkanovski. “The thing is, I’m not just saying this for no reason. I train with a lotta welterweights, a lot of UFC welterweights, high-level guys. Most of my training partners are a lot bigger than me, and I hold my own, trust me, I do very well.

“When you’re used to being 214 pounds, and used to rugby league players, and used to middleweights and welterweights, then you grab hold of these featherweights, you’re like, ‘Ay, it’s nothing.'”

With that higher-weight experience in mind, Volkanovski doesn’t anticipate having the same transitional issue many have when moving up in weight, something he believes makes him a massive threat to the lightweight roster.

Volkanovski Reveals What Won’t Be An Issue For Him At 155

Discussing the physical logistics that go into a venture beyond a fighter’s usual weight class, Volkanovski claimed that most factors don’t present an obstacle for him. The Aussie dismissed the idea that height, power, and strength could present potential road blocks to his attainment of champ-champ status.

“Obviously skill comes into play, but I feel I can dictate any fight, anywhere, especially with the featherweights,” claimed Volkanovski. “And I honestly believe, at lightweight, I’ll have—even, look at the toughest matchups there, you’re gonna look at—so, if I move up, a lot of people are gonna sit there and they’re gonna say, ‘The power and the strength is gonna be an issue because you’re moving up.’ That’s not an issue for me.

“When you look at people going to champ-champ status and all that type — moving up, that is always gonna be the biggest factor. Height’s not gonna be a problem because I deal with that anyway, everyone’s taller than me, I’m used to it,” Volkanovski continued. “Then power, I’m used to the big guys, and I won’t feel that power, that strength, and wrestling, and all that. I’m very hard to hold down. So I’m not expecting these guys to just carry their weight all over me.”

Assessing the landscape at 155 pounds, which includes the grappling prowess of champion Charles Oliveira and the rising Islam Makhachev amongst those towards the top of the ladder, Volkanovski confidently claimed that there isn’t a single lightweight who could hold top position on the mat.

With that in mind, “The Great” would be anticipating a striking battle, and one he doesn’t believe he’d lose.

“Even the hardest matchups, the wrestlers in that division. Holding me down, that’s not something that I think any of them can do,” suggested Volkanovski. “Then it’ll come down to the striking, and I’m gonna be faster than them. So, I believe I’m a big threat to these guys, and I guarantee they watch and they believe it.”

One lightweight who has been vocal in encouraging Volkanovski to remain at featherweight is Makhachev. The Dagestani took to Twitter to stake his claim for a future championship opportunity, something the arrival of the featherweight champ could stall.

Nevertheless, with Makhachev seemingly having Beneil Dariush to deal with later this year, there could well be an opening for Volkanovski to attempt a coup d’état against the lightweight king.

Do you think Alexander Volkanovski can acquire champ-champ status in the UFC?

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