Alexander Volkanovski is rooting for Charles Oliveira to beat Islam Makhachev because he thinks ‘Do Bronx’ is ‘the bigger fight’ for him at lightweight.
Volkanovski, the reigning UFC featherweight champion, wants to move up in weight and fight the winner of Oliveira vs. Makhachev for the lightweight title.
‘The Great’ hopes to become a two-division champ and is excited about the prospect of facing No. 1-ranked lightweight Oliveira in his 155-pound debut.
Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) would prefer to fight Oliveira (33-8-1 NC MMA, 21-8-1 NC UFC) simply because he thinks the Brazilian is the more exciting fighter and has a ton of hype behind him following recent stoppage victories over Michael Chandler, Dustin Poirier, and Justin Gaethje.
A win over Makhachev at UFC 280 would only add to Oliveira’s growing star appeal and generate even more interest in a potential super-fight versus Volkanovski.
“At the end of the day, I just want the belt,” Volkanovski said on The MMA Hour (h/t MMA Fighting). “What do you think the bigger fight is? I think the bigger fight is definitely Charles Oliveira. I think he’s got so much hype on him. We know it’s going to be an exciting fight, he’s so exciting to watch. There’s a reason he’s so exciting to watch.”
“Obviously — this isn’t a shot at him, I’ve got a lot of respect for him, but I think a lot of people miss that — they miss the fact that he takes damage. He loses a good portion of these big, exciting fights. That’s why they’re exciting. But yeah, it’s very fun. A lot of people are hyping him up, and again, I want big fights. I think Charles is definitely a bigger fight.”
Although he is rooting for Oliveira at UFC 280, Volkanovski would be more than happy to fight Makhachev for the lightweight title should the latter emerge victorious in Abu Dhabi.
“If Islam has that title, I’ll fight Islam for that title,” Volkanovski, who is fresh off a lopsided decision victory over Max Holloway, said. “It doesn’t matter who it is, I’ll do whatever. They both have big challenges. They both have different challenges and big challenges, and that’s excites me too. A nice, big challenge, because again, I love when people doubt me. I love being the underdog, and it might be awhile until I’m an underdog in my division. But moving up, there’s going to be a lot of people that think it can’t be done, and I’m going to show them that it can.”
“Obviously these are conversations you have, but it was never something that was locked in. I’m the type of guy, I want to be busy. If it’s not now, it can be later, as well. I’ve always looked at it that way. But at the same time, it’s something that we talked about, and they know that I deserve it too. I think we’re all on board, and we all think it’s fair, so right now we’re in a good position.”
UFC 280: Oliveira vs. Makhachev takes place on October 22 at the Etihad Arena in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
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