UFC star Alexander Volkanovski knows he still has doubters despite being the pound-for-pound number-one ranked fighter in the world.
But he’s ready to shock the world in his own backyard.
With UFC 284 approaching, the featherweight champion is getting set to do what only a handful have done before – secure double-champ status.
It's the first event the UFC has held in Australia for three years and, if truth be told, there’s no better place to do it.
Volkanovski told SPORTbible Australia and reporters: “This is going to be huge. It’s a huge card, and it’s going to be a historic event.
“But for me to go out there and take Islam out - Khabib 2.0, the feared fighter - a lot of the lightweights don’t even want to fight. Here I am a featherweight moving up a division to fight this guy.
“Just watch me shock the world. And it’s going to be absolutely massive.”
It’s a challenge he doesn’t believe many fighters in the world would have the courage to do, and something he prides himself on.
He continued: “I’m trying to do things people haven’t done before.
“Not many people are putting themselves in the position that I am. A lot of people probably have a more calculated approach when they move up and fight, thinking about who the champion is and all the timing.
“Me, I don’t care who’s holding that belt - bring it on. The bigger the task, the bigger the challenge, the bigger the win.”
Having not fought Down Under since 2018, it’ll be a huge homecoming for the man who has steadily become the undisputed king of the featherweight division.
He’ll be headlining a packed RAC Arena in Perth, vying to make history in what would undoubtedly be one of the biggest achievements in his career.
He said: “It’s got to be right up there (in his list of achievements).
“Obviously, I’ve got to defend the belt a few times, but I’ve been saying I want to defend it here on home soil. Now to go for double-champ in Australia it’s going to be absolutely massive.
“Everyone’s buzzing, so am I, I can’t wait.
“Even who I’m fighting. Islam - everyone thinks it’s such a tough fight and I’m crazy for doing it, but I love that it makes the win that much bigger when I get it done.
“Very excited to go out there and shock the world. A lot of people counted me out, and I can’t wait to prove them wrong.”
Volkanovski challenges Islam Makhachev for the UFC featherweight championship on February 12, 2023.
Featured Image Credit: @alexvolkanovski/Instagram. REUTERS / Alamy.
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