Volkanovski claims he was drinking alcohol every day leading up
to his rematch against Islam
Makhachev this past October.
Volkanovski (26-3) was coming off a successful title defense
Rodriguez in July and recovering from a hand surgery when the
otherwise disciplined featherweight champ developed a drinking
habit. When Volkanovski received the call to replace Charles
Oliveira on 12 days’ notice against Makhachev, the temptation
to correct his
UFC 284 decision loss against the lightweight champ was highly
While “The Great” went on to suffer a Round 1 head kick knockout,
it’s the lack of discipline in the months prior that bothers him
more than the loss.
“It was like a little kick up the arse for me – I wasn’t
disciplined,” the Australian said on his teammate Israel
Adesanya’s YouTube channel. “I’m known for being disciplined
all year round, 24/7, and I just wasn’t that time. I was really
disappointed. I was more upset with who I was in the previous
months leading up to that. To be honest, it made it a little easier
because it snapped me out of it. It snapped me out of it. I was
drinking every day for like three or four weeks.”
“Honestly, that’s unheard of for me. Like [drinking] every day.
I’ve never, ever done that. But I was like, ‘Ah, I’m not training
much,’ and the surgery and just trying to help around the house I
was like, ‘All right, I’ll have a couple of drinks here, they’ll go
down good,’ you know what I mean? It was going down too good. Every
day I went to cans with the fam and come back and even then I was
like, ‘Man, this has to stop.’ I was saying that even the day
before I got the call. I was [183 pounds] that day. I went to my
strength and conditioning coach, and we did some tests and I stood
on the scale, and I was 83 [kilograms]. All the boys in the gym
were laughing. I’ve never been that heavy.
“I was like, ‘Let’s do it, I need to snap out of this little rut
that I’m in’. This is exciting, this is a challenge, and this is
something I need right now. So, I was just a little disappointed
that time. Losing is always going to suck, but you lose to a
fighter like Islam, it’s OK. I know I can beat him. I’ve proven
that, but he caught me. All credit to him. I’m not taking anything
away from him. He set up that kick and there’s not much I can say.
I was just disappointed with the guy I was leading into that.”
Volkanovski will look to defend his strap against undefeated
Spanish standout Ilia
Topuria (14-0) in the main event at
UFC 298 on Feb. 17 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, California.