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‘Islam’s stand-up is so damn good’ - Coach says Volkanovski isn’t that ‘big a threat’

AKA head coach Javier Mendez gives his thoughts on a potential fight between Islam Makhachev and Alexander Volkanovski.

Islam Makhachev during his February fight with Bobby Green.
Islam Makhachev during his February fight with Bobby Green.
Photo by Chris Unger/Zuffa LLC

After another successful title defense against Max Holloway at UFC 276, Alexander Volkanovski has pretty much run out of challengers at featherweight. The reigning 145-pound champion has since toyed with the idea of moving up to 155 pounds, which he doesn’t see as “that big of a challenge.”

American Kickboxing Academy head coach Javier Mendez, however, begs to differ. Mendez, who isn’t a stranger to coaching elite lightweights, recently spoke with Submission Radio about how Volkanovski would fare against one of his current prized protégés, Islam Makhachev.

“I don’t think he poses as big a threat to Islam as you would think because he’s such a master on the takedown and Alex isn’t going to be able to stop it, no matter what he does.

“And Islam’s stand up is so damn good that he can stand with him. So, you know, unless Alex’s ground improves tremendously, I don’t see it as a huge threat to Islam.”

Mendez does see someone else as a potential problem for Makhachev.

“I see Oliveira as a huge threat, but I don’t see Alex. Only because he ain’t gonna be able to stop Islam from taking it to the ground, and I just don’t think he can handle Islam’s ground game.”

Makhachev (22-1) has been on a ten-fight win streak in the UFC beginning in 2016. He last fought at UFC Vegas 49 against Bobby Green at a 160-pound catchweight and won via first-round TKO.