“I Can’t Afford to Show Him Respect” — Alexander Volkanovski Claims Short Notice Could Be ‘Playing Into My Hands’

Alexander Volkanovski stepped in to save the day and will be granted his wish to rematch Islam Makhachev at UFC 294 this weekend.

The featherweight champion fought back in July at International Fight Week, where he successfully defended his 145lb title against Yair Rodriguez.

Following that fight, the 35-year-old required surgery to his elbow which kept him out of the gym for a short period of time.

Despite Volkanovski (26-2) stepping in on short notice, at the UFC 294 media day, he admitted that he still feels as though he’s got a lot to lose.

“This whole ‘nothing to lose’ thing is silly. Don’t get me wrong there’s still a lot of pressure on Islam and I understand that, but I mean, I have to take this rematch that I want so bad, we talk about legacy, if I was to lose my legacy takes a big hit, I don’t get another shot at the lightweight title.”

Their last fight was somewhat controversial due to fans being completely divided on their opinions of who deserved the decision win. This time though, Volkanovski plans on not showing Islam ‘so much respect.’

“From the first fight I showed him a lot of well deserved respect but I felt like I didn’t need to show him so much respect. I’m going to be coming full steam ahead of him.

“I’ve had 12 days notice I think is what’s going to make me so dangerous because what I learnt from that first fight, me taking this on 12 days notice, I can’t afford to show him respect so it’s playing into my hands anyway.”

Watch the full UFC 294 media day appearance from Alexander Volkanovski above.