First although, the featherweight champion should defend his title towards upstart challenger Ilia Topuria at UFC 298 on February 17.
The cocky Topuria has an ideal 14-0 report and is on one of many hottest streaks within the UFC, however Volk is adamant the Spaniard is out of his depth.
“I’m not making an attempt to throw shade at him, however – and it’s the identical with loads of different fighters – however we earned our respect,” Volkanovski stated at Friday’s UFC 298 press convention in Sydney. “We earned it by combating powerful opponents, and he hasn’t had the chance to try this.
“I don’t suppose he’s pretty much as good as he thinks he’s.
“However, I’m making ready for a person pretty much as good as he says he’s. I’ll give him the good thing about the doubt. I’ll be ready, and if he’s less than that normal, it’s going to be a humbling expertise.”
Volkanovski is the longest reigning present UFC champion, and his bout with Topuria shall be his sixth title defence as he continues his journey to turning into an all-time nice.
The 35-year-old fell brief in his two light-weight title fights towards Makhachev final yr, however has relegated each fights to the previous.
“Except I’m getting requested about it, I’m not likely eager about it, I’m simply making an attempt to be in the most effective form bodily and mentally,” he stated. “Even after I win, I neglect about it and return to the gymnasium and attempt to be higher.
“It’s all a part of the story, and I can’t wait to point out the world.”
Keen to remain as energetic as potential, however quickly working out of opponents at featherweight, Volkanovski says he nonetheless has plans at light-weight.
“Light-weight’s positively within the close to future,” he stated. “I’m not anticipating a rematch (with Makhachev) right away, however (on February 17), everybody shall be reminded.
“They’ll say there’s nothing left at 145, and I’ll return and take that light-weight belt.
“I wish to combat just a few instances this yr, and who’s subsequent? Movsar (Evloev) and some different guys aren’t far off at featherweight, however whereas we’re figuring that out, let’s have some enjoyable combating at light-weight.”
In the meantime Rob Whittaker is promising to carry “the animal” again when he fights Paulo Costa within the co-main occasion at UFC 298.
Whittaker is coming off a shock second spherical TKO loss to Dricus du Plessis final July, and, though he took an damage into the bout, admits he wasn’t totally ready for the fired up South African.
“While you combat for thus lengthy, and have so many modifications in life, it simply takes loosening the reins just a little bit,” he stated. “Combating these hungry dudes – Dricus is a hungry man – and I feel I underestimated that starvation.
“(He’s) a giant, sturdy man who’s hungry, and keen to depart all of it there. It is advisable match that, and I didn’t.”
The loss pressured a rethink inside Whittaker’s camp, with the previous middleweight champ adopting a brand new mindset as he prepares for Costa.
“The Du Plessis camp and combat itself was a very good get up name,” he stated. “From that combat, camp and preparation, we went again to the gymnasium, took issues away we preferred, made some tweaks right here and there.
“Truthfully, it’s for the higher, I’m hungrier than ever, I’ve been actually specializing in bringing the animal again. I’m not in it to win, I’m in it to harm Costa, and that mentality is highly effective.”
Heavyweight knockout artist Justin Tafa rounds out the three Aussies combating on the blockbuster card, taking over veteran Brazilian Marcos Rogerio de Lima.
All 4 of Tafa’s UFC wins have come by way of first spherical knockout inside two minutes, and with the Logan-based slugger knocking on the door of the heavyweight rankings, he’s planning on including one other to his resume.
“That’s what I’m extra enthusiastic about, I’m going nicely with all these guys within the prime 15,” he stated about cracking the rankings. “I’ve finished all this floor work and it’s time to place it to work.
“I feel this man will attempt to take me down, however … I’ll most likely knock him out.
“My coaches are like, ‘Stick and transfer, discover a gap’, however my arse is telling me to throw down and go to battle.”