Alexander Volkanovski still has eyes on Islam Makhachev rematch

May 15, 2023

Alexander Volkanovski is set to unify his featherweight belt with that of interim champion Yair Rodriguez at UFC 290 on July 8 in Las Vegas. But that doesn’t mean he’s given up on a rematch with lightweight champion Islam Makhachev.

In fact, though Volkanovski is busy preparing for Rodriguez, he’s got one eye on Makhachev and becoming a two-division champion.

He tried to achieve that feat at UFC 284 in February, but fell short, losing a unanimous decision to Makhachev. Volkanovski likely would have tried again, but chose to remain active instead of waiting around for another shot at the lightweight belt.

Alexander Volkanovski wants to be an active champion

“I wanted to be active. I told you that,” Volkanovski said in a video on his YouTube channel. “I was (asked) after the (first fight with Makhachev), do I want to wait around for the rematch, do I want to fight at featherweight, what do I wanna do?

“I go, I don’t want to wait around. Cus they said, ‘Do you want to wait around? The only thing is if you wait for that fight, that might not be until the end of the year.’ We don’t know when that fight is happening, but it’s not looking like it’s gonna be anytime soon.”

Makhachev is currently targeted for a return to the Octagon when the UFC returns to Abu Dhabi this fall. The promotion has an event expected Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 21.

“I ain’t waiting,” Volkanovski continued. “I’d rather fight featherweight then do the rematch sometime at the end of the year, whenever it is. Whenever that fight can happen, that fight’s always gonna be there. I want to stay active and I told you I wanted to stay active and I wasn’t lying. This is proof of that.”

He wants to capture and defend both belts

If Volkanovski is successful against Rodriguez and then gets another fight with Makhachev, potentially capturing two belts, he intends to defend both. The UFC has been reluctant to allow most dual-division champions to hang onto both belts for long, as it typically slows the pace of title fights in one division or the other, but Volkanovski insists that won’t happen with him.

“When I do get that lightweight belt, you know I’m gonna be keeping both of those divisions busy,” he said. “A lot of people were like, ‘How you gonna do it?’ This is how I’m gonna do it. This is how I’m gonna do it.”

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(Courtesy of Alexander Volkanovski)