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UFC 232 video - Alex Volkanovski to Chad Mendes: ‘Sorry for rubbing your name in the dirt’

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Check out Bloody Elbow’s interview with the #10 ranked UFC featherweight Alexander Volkanovski ahead of his UFC 232 tilt with Chad Mendes on December 29, 2018.

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The UFC’s #10 ranked featherweight, Alexander Volkanovski, is gearing up to face the #5 ranked Chad Mendes at UFC 232 on December 29, 2018. Before marching into battle, Volkanovski spoke with Bloody Elbow about how his days of playing rugby actually shaped his fighting style, and how he is used to competing against much larger men. Volkanovski also apologizes to Mendes for throwing dirt on his name, but said it worked to get the fight booked. Towards the end of the interview, Volkanovski gives his official prediction for his upcoming UFC 232 bout.

**The complete interview video can be seen at the top of the page.

An audio version of this interview can be found at our Bloody Elbow Presents SoundCloud and iTunes channels.

  • You have a rugby background, which is one of the toughest sports on the planet. It’s like American football, but tough. What did take away from your rugby days that carried on into your MMA career?

“Obviously toughness, like you said. It’s tough, but I’ve always been used to the big boys. As you probably heard, I used to be 97 kilograms. What’s that, 213 pounds I think that is. Is that about right you reckon?”

  • Yeah, like 213-215 somewhere in there.

“You can imagine, and now I fight at featherweight, 66 kilograms. So it’s, bloody, crazy difference. So, I’ve always been used to the big boys. The front row is a position where, pretty, much give them the ball and run straight at a brick wall. Them types of guys. So I was one of them types of guys. I don’t know, it made me tough. Like you would see in a scrum.”

“We call it a scrum. That’s when we all huddle-in in the scrum, and you got the hooker, which is between the two front rowers. So you’ve got this monster of a man that’s 120 kg, tall, about six foot plus. And then you’ve got me that’s five foot six if I’m I lucky. This hooker is just lopsided like this, with one arm over this big fellow. It’s crazy, so that’s what I was used to, and I sort of bring that into my MMA. Even now, I still train with the big boys. Obviously I’m going to be careful, but at the same time, I feel just as strong as these, even welterweights, middleweights. That’s what I try to tell people. When it comes to strength, I reckon pound for pound I’m one of the strongest in the whole UFC.”

  • Creeping towards the big boys at Tiger Muay Thai:

“When I was in Thailand, because you get that many people training at Tiger Muay Thai, would put us all on the wall from smallest to biggest, and like you would cut it in half. The big guys would have to, because there wasn’t enough room on the mats, there were that many people there, so only half would spar at a time. I would always creep my way to the big boys, and I would have the coaches going, ‘Alex, get the fuck back on the other side. What are you doing?’ So I’m here with the bigger weights and the heavyweights.”

  • You’re talking about coaches George and Frank Hickman?

“Yeah, exactly right. So that’s mentally, just where [I’m at]. You could ask them, and they’ll tell you that every time we got to literally pull him away. ‘Back there with the boys your size.’ I’m looking at them like, ‘What? These guys are my size. I’m just so used to bigger boys.”

  • You’re known to get in your opponents face and rough them up, but against Darren Elkins in your last fight you really let your hands go. You wobbled and dropped him multiple times with your right hand. Did that fight give you any extra confidence in your standup ability?

“Um, no. Obviously it went alright, but I still see holes. I’m the hardest critic, so I still see plenty of holes and things I wasn’t happy with. Even some decisions I made. Usually I make really good decisions. It’s one of the things that I tend to do, make the right decision, right time, and get the right reactions and capitalize on it.”

  • After the Elkins fight, you called out his teammate and now UFC 232 opponent Chad Mendes. Was that kind of a spur of the moment thing, or did you have that planned out?

“Yeah, it was sort of a spur of the moment thing, but obviously I had it on my mind as well. A little bit of strategic there where I was thinking I know he’ll come off that suspension and get in the rankings, high in the rankings. This is a good opportunity for me to shoot for the rankings. I don’t think he deserves to fight someone so high up. So, it was sort of a smart sort of call out. Like you could say I sort of planned a little bit, but it worked. I don’t usually call people but, mate it worked.”

  • Throwing dirt on the name of Chad Mendes:

“I threw a little bit of dirt on his name. He got suspended and I’ve sort of been like, he doesn’t deserve to call there shots. He’s off of a suspension from, we all know why. At the same time, it got me what I wanted. So, sorry for rubbing your name in the dirt mate, but it is what it is. You got caught. Whatever.”

  • I interviewed Mendes recently, and he mentioned you style and how you bully guys. He also said that he thinks you’re in for an awakening. Do you think you’re going to be able to go out there and bully Chad Mendes?

“I think I’m going to have my way with him. Saying bully? Not necessarily. There’s going to be scrambles. I always prepare for the worst. I’m expecting him to be strong. I’m expecting if I take him down, he’s going to get back to his feet. I’m expecting big shots to be thrown. I know I can go for days. I’ve proved this time and time again, against grinders. Every fighter I‘ve had are absolute grinders and I’ve always been able to slow them down and have my way with them still.”

“Don’t be surprised if late in that first-second. Again, he’s going to have a rude awakening too. He’s not used to a short, stocky - I’ve trained with a lot of guys and I’m sure he does too, but I guarantee he’s never trained with someone as strong as me. He’s going to try and have his way and he thinks he’s going to stop me from bullying him. That’s just going to wear him down. I think that’s where he’s going to slow down, if I don’t catch him early, which is a good chance. We’re both pocket rockets. we both hit hard, and our styles, it’s going to make a banger.”

  • What’s your official prediction for your UFC 232 bout?

“Ah, I’ve been seeing it. I’ve been seeing it time and time again. Early finish, honestly. Again, no disrespect. Not because I think he’s an easier matchup than the last, but purely stylistically. Like the way we’re going to be going, I’m going to have to use some big shots, and he’s going to try and be out for it as well. I think I’m going to catch him early.”

Watch the 18-1 Alexander Volkanovski lock horns with the 18-4 Chad Mendes at UFC 232 on December 29, 2018. Stay tuned to Bloody Elbow for all of your UFC event coverage including interviews, play-by-play, highlights, and more!