Alexander Volkanovski showed a different side of himself as he prepared for his second bout against Islam Makhachev.
Unexpectedly, the UFC featherweight champion found himself in a rematch with the lightweight champion for UFC 297. Volkanovski stepped up on short notice to replace Charles Oliveira, who had to withdraw from the fight due to injury.
Unfortunately, Volkanovski suffered a first-round knockout from a powerful head kick, sparking concerns about the impact of the sudden fight announcement on his performance. During an interview on Israel Adesanya’s YouTube channel, Volkanovski confessed that his training routine had drastically deviated from the norm before the matchmakers called.
Reflecting on the loss, Volkanovski admitted, “It was a wake-up call for me. I had become undisciplined. I pride myself on being disciplined and professional year-round, but I had strayed from that. It was a disappointment, especially looking back at the previous months.”
He added, “It actually made it somewhat easier because it made me snap out of it. I was drinking daily for three to four weeks, which was completely out of character for me. But I wasn’t training much due to a surgery and helping out at home. I found myself reaching for a drink every day until I realized it had to stop.”
While Volkanovski clarified that his drinking was mostly at home and not disruptive, it was still a departure from his usual strict regimen that had led him to his previous successes in the UFC.
One of Volkanovski’s main concerns was his weight gain, reaching nearly 185 pounds, indicating a decline in his physical condition. Eager to get back in shape and redeem his loss to Makhachev at UFC 284, Volkanovski seized the short-notice opportunity.
“I had never been that heavy before. Even when I was trying to bulk up for my first fight against Islam, I never reached that weight,” Volkanovski shared. “It was a wake-up call, and I focused on eating well to shed some weight. Just a day before getting the fight offer, I had already started losing weight. It was mostly water weight at that point.”