Alexander Volkanovski says he 'thrives' when he's doubted

  • Alexander Volkanovski defends the UFC featherweight title at UFC 298
  • Fans are counting the long-standing champion out
  • He says the doubt only fuels him more
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) prior to the fight against
Jul 8, 2023; Las Vegas, Nevada, USA; Alexander Volkanovski (red gloves) prior to the fight against / Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski is used to being counted out, despite his remarkable run through one of the sport's top divisions.

However, having his odds undervalued is something that Volkanovski is used to, and leads to some of his greatest performances.

Volkanovski will face surging contender Ilia Topuria in the UFC 298 main event on Feb. 17 in Anaheim. He returns to defend his belt after a brutal knockout loss to Islam Makhachev at UFC 294.

Some question whether or not Volkanovski can have a triumphant, quick turnaround after getting flattened in his last fight. Topuria is a dangerous contender who has shown a well-rounded style to give all of his opponents headaches inside the Octagon.

Volkanovski's chances are being questioned again, just the way he prefers it.

Alexander Volkanovski addresses his detractors ahead of UFC 298

During his UFC 298 media day press conference, Volkanovski expressed indifference to those counting him out against Topuria.

"It doesn't get under my skin," Volkanovski said. "There's so many reasons for me to be motivated. As I've always said, I'm disciplined, I'm gonna turn up in the gym. If I have a job or a goal ahead, that's it, I'm locked in. But, it was easy, coming off a loss, people with this '35-year-old' thing and all of these narratives, I love it.

He continued, "Everyone knows I thrive in these moments. When people doubt me, it's the best."

Volkanovski has gone from shocking the world against Max Holloway for the belt at UFC 245 to one of the undisputed best fighters on the planet. He's recently defended the featherweight belt against Holloway in a trilogy, and a TKO win over Yair Rodríguez at UFC 290.

Despite Volkanovski's featherweight success, he still has his eye on potential two-division champion status and the lightweight division. Two losses to Makhachev in 2023 have hampered his status in the lightweight title picture, but he's forecasting a future lightweight move to right those wrongs.

As Volkanovski prepares for his next big fight against Topuria, he has his fair share of doubters in his ears, which could drive him towards another all-time moment at UFC 298.


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