Alexander Volkanovski hopes Charles Oliveira beats Islam Makhachev at UFC 280: ‘Charles is definitely a bigger fight’
Oliveira faces Makhachev for the vacant lightweight title at UFC 280, and Volkanovski has made it no secret that he wants a crack at the lightweight title next. And if he has his druthers, the featherweight champion said he’d prefer to fight “Do Bronx” for the lightweight strap.
“At the end of the day, I just want the belt. What do you think the bigger fight is? I think the bigger fight is definitely Charles Oliveira,” Volkanovski recently explained on The MMA Hour. “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.”
That’s not to say that Volkanovski is opposed to facing Makhachev either. At the end of the day, “The Great” merely wants a chance to prove he is just that, by defying the odds and joining the realm of the two-division champions.
“If Islam has that title, I’ll fight Islam for that title. It doesn’t matter who it is, I’ll do whatever,” Volkanovski said. “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.”
Volkanovski has been angling for a lightweight title shot for some time. But coming off his dominant victory over Max Holloway at UFC 276, which vaulted him to No. 1 in MMA Fighting’s pound-for-pound rankings, the champ renewed his calls for a chance at a second belt, even suggesting the fight could happen at the UFC’s rumored return to Australia in 2023.
While he hasn’t been promised anything, Volkanovski believes that he’s in a good spot to get the first crack at the newly crowned lightweight champion.
“Obviously these are conversations you have, but it was never something that was locked in,” he said. “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.”