Alexander Volkanovski “surprised” Khabib won’t be in Islam Makhachev’s corner at UFC 284, but doesn’t want that as an excuse when he wins

By Cole Shelton - February 1, 2023

Alexander Volkanovski admits he was surprised to hear that Khabib Nurmagomedov wouldn’t be cornering Islam Makhachev at UFC 284.

Alexander Volkanovski

Makhachev will be looking to defend his lightweight belt for the first time when he takes on the promotions reigning featherweight champ in Volkanovski at UFC 284. In the lead-up to the highly anticipated super-fight, it was revealed that Khabib Nurmagomedov had decided to step away from MMA and wouldn’t be in the corner of Makhachev in Australia.

When Volkanovski heard the news, he says he was surprised, but he doesn’t want that used as an excuse should he beat Makhachev later this month.

“I guess I was surprised at the start, but it doesn’t matter, Islam is still going to turn up. I know people push narratives and all that type of stuff. At the end of the day, Islam is a great fighter,” Volkanovski said on The MMA Hour. “He’s the one who’s going in there and doing his work, and Khabib will tell you that himself. So again, if my hand gets raised, don’t be [complaining]. These are excuses. He’s fought plenty of times with Khabib not in his corner, he’s done it before and he’s a great fighter. He’s going to turn up and show up in the Octagon anyway, even if Khabib is there or not. So I’m preparing for the same Islam that I’ve seen, and again, if things go how I plan on them going, don’t start changing narratives and start using all these excuses, because it’s the guy in front of him that’s the problem.”

Alexander Volkanovski enters his UFC 284 lightweight title fight as the reigning featherweight champ. Last time out, he won a one-sided decision win over Max Holloway to defend his featherweight strap for the fourth time. The Aussie became the champ back in 2019 with a decision win over Holloway at UFC 245. In his career, he holds notable wins over Brian Ortega, Korean Zombie, Jose Aldo, and Chad Mendes among others.

Do you think Alexander Volkanovski will beat Islam Makhachev at UFC 284?


Alex Volkanovski Islam Makhachev Khabib Nurmagomedov UFC UFC 284