Alexander Volkanovski has shared what it's been like trying to move on from the knockout loss he suffered at the hands of Islam Makhachev last year.
'The Great' faced Makhachev for the second time in 2023 when he stepped in on just 10 days' notice at UFC 294. Despite the lack of preparation, some fans had expected another back-and-forth contest like their first fight, which went on to win 2023's Fight of the Year.
Unfortunately for the Australian it proved anything but, as Makhachev landed a devastating head kick in the first round that dropped to him the canvas, leading to the finish of the fight.
The result was understandably tough to take for Volkanovski, as he had suffered his only two defeats in the UFC to the same opponent and in the same year.
Now, Volkanovski is set to return to his division when he defends the featherweight title against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 this weekend.
Ahead of their bout, the 35-year-old spoke to mainevent. During the interview, he shared what it's been like handling such a setback whilst preparing for a new fight. He said:
"I've completely moved on. That's one good thing about me, as soon as I've got a job in front of me or a goal, that's it, I'm locked in. That was the case...I was able to move on but it was just about the right time...Obviously I don't like losing, that did hurt but at the same time I try to challenge myself and do something that was always going to be a tall ask."
Catch Alexander Volkanovski's comments here (1:10):
Alexander Volkanovski gives prediction for his bout against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298
Alexander Volkanovski is hoping to defend his featherweight title for a sixth time when he faces Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 on Feb. 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.
During the build-up to their clash, Topuria has regularly trash-talked Volkanovski over this losses to Islam Makhachev and the fact he's 35 years old. 'El Matador', who is 28, believes it is now his time at the top of the division.
Volkanovski recently completed his final training session before heading to the US, and discussed Topuria and his trash talk on his YouTube channel. The Australian then opted to give his prediction for the fight:
''Prediction is, I teach him a good lesson. He's going to be embarrassed, he's gonna eat some of his words.''
''He's young, he is confident, and I'll humble him. He's bounce back and start after I give him a good a** beating.''
Catch Alexander Volkanovski's comments here (4:43):