After coming up short in a couple of bids to claims the UFC’s lightweight title last year, Alexander Volkanovski once again returns to the 145-pound division he has dominated for several years next week.
Opposite him in the cage in Anaheim, California will be the unbeaten, 14-0 Ilia Topuria — a young, hungry challenger predicted by some to be the future of the featherweight division. But despite suffering those two defeat to Islam Makhachev in 2023 (one by decision, the other by first round knockout) his longtime friend and training partner Israel Adesanya has said that the MMA community can be too quick to count someone out, and that Volkanovski will prove that next weekend.
On his YouTube channel, Adesanya recounts visiting Volkanovksi in the final days of his Topuria training camp in New Zealand’s famed City Kickboxing gym to, as he puts it, “see Volk in the home stretch.”
“I want to see him in his house on the home stretch, see where his mindset’s at, see how sharp he is and draw energy from it. That’s why I’m here,” Adesanya said.
And it appears that he was impressed by what he saw in the training room.
“Sharp, blade,” he said of the UFC featherweight champion. “My man, he’s on. I like what he said in one of the lead-ups. He said, ‘How quickly they forget,’ and I know that feeling. How quickly they forget, but again, this is where we come through. It’s time to remind them. So he’s about to do that in Anaheim.”