Alexander Volkanovski is getting jacked.
The UFC featherweight champion is checking all the boxes as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career – and that includes bulking up in weight and making significant gains in the strength department.
Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) moves up a weight class to challenge lightweight champ Islam Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) in the main event of UFC 284 on Feb. 11 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia. It’s a champion vs. champion super fight.
The Aussie always makes sure to prepare technically for his opponents. But for this camp, bulking up is a new added wrinkle.
“The fact that I’m moving up, doing the bulking, telling myself we need to get stronger, we need to work on that takedown defense, all of a sudden I’m twice as strong as I was,” Volkanovski said on FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel.
“My defense is just on point. I’m like an absolute brick wall when people are trying to run into me, and they feel it, they instantly feel it as soon as they grab a hold of me, or we grab each other. They can already significantly see the strength, so it just makes you think where I go from here.”
Conor McGregor struck by vehicle while riding bicycle: ‘I could’ve been dead’
Dan Hooker credits Islam Makhachev for taking Alexander Volkanovski fight at UFC 284 in Australia
Chael Sonnen: Alexander Volkanovski over Islam Makhachev at UFC 284 wouldn’t be a big upset`
Volkanovski thinks Makhachev is banking on a size and strength advantage going into the title fight, as naturally he compete at a higher weight. He got that sense when they had a staredown inside octagon at UFC 280 in October following Makhachev’s title win against Charles Oliveira.
The 34-year-old thinks Makhachev is making a big mistake by underestimating him size wise and says he’s in for a rude awakening when the two lock horns at UFC 284 next month.
“You can see in his face like, ‘This guy ain’t too big,’” Volkanovski said. “I’ve seen that on plenty of people’s faces. I’ve seen that on my previous fights – my last four, five fights. But that face quickly changes when I’m in the octagon.
“Give me 10 seconds with him, that face changes real quick. All of a sudden, that size doesn’t matter. All of a sudden my footwork, ‘Where’s this guy at? I’m in a puzzle, he’s already giving drama.’ Then I put my hands on him, there’s another problem. Then they try to grab a hold of me, and I’m a little brick f*king wall. There’s another problem.
“That’s when you see them start to crumble and be like, ‘F*ck, what have I got myself into?’ That’s exactly what’s going to happen with Islam, especially the way he’s looking. I can tell he really thinks he’s going to be way too strong.”
For more on the card, visit MMA Junkie’s event hub for UFC 284.