UFC 232 is upon us, and it’s fair to say it’s not been the usual UFC fight week preparation for the fighters that are competing on this card. In case you missed it, UFC 232 has been moved from its original venue, the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada, and will now be hosted from The Forum, Los Angels, California.
We won’t get in to the reasons right now though, because, we caught up with the man who is touted by many in the fight game to be Australia’s next UFC champion, Alexander ‘the Great’ Volkanovski.
Q: Alex, how are you?
I’m great. I’ve had an unbelievable camp…a full 12 weeks which I don’t always get - It makes a huge difference!
I am peaking at the right time and can’t wait to get out there and show the world what I can do.
Q: this fight week has been a little out of the ordinary. Talk us through it?
Jon Jones, piece of shit! Just want to get that out there.
Look, its not been the ordinary fight week, but I just have to focus on me, maintain my focus and stick to my program.
I feel for the fans and the people who have missed out that made plans for Vegas and can’t make the change to LA. I personally know people affected, and it’s a shame that they can’t make it. This victory (when I win) is for all of those people.
Q: can you give us some insights into your camp preparation for Chad Mendes?
Full 12 weeks baby! Now that’s preparation!
I train full time with my coach Joe Lopez at Freestyle Fighting in Windang South of Woollongong, I spent some time with Tiger Muay Thai in Phuket, and completed my prep with City Kickboxing in Auckland. City Kickboxing has become like a second home for me, I really enjoy my time in Auckland.
I haven’t changed my preparation too much. I maintain a well-rounded training program at all times, and I train constantly with a lot of elite fighters with varying styles. This allows me to have a very broad skill base. I’m ready for anything. Train with best in the world.
Q: You’ve trained under Joe Lopez at Freestyle Fighting for your whole career. How important is Joe’s influence?
Joe and I are close. He knows everything about me and has been there for the whole journey. When I win that belt Joe will be one of the main a contributors.
Q: City Kickboxing and Tiger Muay Thai have been integral to your progress in recent years. What are the advantages of travelling to these gyms for your camps?
I am always trying to test myself and grow as a fighter and an athlete. Both of these gyms provide a consistent and high level of training partners with lots of different styles.
Q: Now, you are a former Rugby League Prop who weighed in at 98kg (215lbs). How important is your nutrition plan now that you have decided that featherweight is your preferred weight class?
I am still one of the smaller guys in the 145 featherweight division in the UFC, so moving down to featherweight was always the goal. It wasn’t easy! 98kg to 66kg (laughs).
It was a process, it wasn’t like I just dropped the weight and started fighting. I fought my way down through the weight classes (and had some success), but featherweight is where I am most comfortable. I had some nutritional advice to help me at the start, but I have been at this weight (featherweight) for so long now that its no longer a chore. My meals and nutrition and my understanding of my body are on point. Plus, when I am not cooking up a storm on the grill Muscle Meals Direct supports me with my pre-made meals, and CMBT Nutrition supports with supplements for my performance and recovery.
Q: Back to the fight. You have been calling for opportunities at top guys for a long time now. Has it been difficult getting the match ups you feel you deserve?
It’s a process. Every fight in the UFC is the most important fight. I mean, you always want the big fights, but you get the big fights through consistency and winning, and that’s what I have been doing. I wouldn’t say its been difficult getting the fights we want, but I believe the other featherweight fighters in the UFC know I am a high risk fight, and when everyone is trying to climb the rankings I have no doubt my name is the first some foghters have been avoiding…but now im in the rankings it will be a little harder to duck me. I am a fighter, I always want to fight, and I want to fight regularly.
Q: Now you have a high ranked fighter in Chad Mendes, what are you expecting from this fight that may be different from the others?
Well he’s my height for starters…this hasn’t happened in the UFC yet. Battle of the midgets (laughs).
He’s an explosive fighter. But he has always been allowed to dictate the pace of the fight and execute his game plan. He won’t be able to do that with me. I am going to be in his face and putting on the pressure… I’m going to cancel out all of his strengths, because they’re my strengths too! I just do them better.
I am fitter and more well-rounded - I could go 20 rounds with the entire featherweight division and still have more in the tank!
Be patient. I don’t take unnecessary risk and I don’t fall for any little games fighters play. Whether that is in the lead up to the fight, or during the fight.
Q: You give us a prediction?
Knock out! I want it.
UFC 232 takes place on December 29, 2018 at the Forum, Los Angeles.