UFC: ‘Doesn’t need somebody to hold his hand’: Champs trade barbs over UFC great’s absence in Sydney alleyway showdown

Alexander Volkanovski has asked that Khabib Nurmagomedov’s absence from UFC 284 never be mentioned, adding, “It better not be used as an excuse after this is all done. Volkanovski and the Russian superstar faced off for the first time in a Sydney alleyway on Sunday, three weeks before his highly anticipated UFC 284 headlining against Islam Makhachev. Both opponents presented their respective title belts for photos in front of two gigantic Volkanovski murals, recently painted just off George Street, as part of a UFC promotional campaign.

While Makhachev is paying for a large support team of 14 to help with last-camp preparations in Australia, one man who hasn’t made the trip is his legendary coach and UFC great Nurmagomedov, who revealed last week through social media that he was quitting the sport to spend more time with his family. Since retiring unbeaten in 2020, the Dagestani great has played a big part in Makhachev’s climb to the UFC lightweight championship, alongside co-coach Javier Mendez, causing many to wonder what influence his absence will now have on the blockbuster versus Volkanovski.

UFC284, what exactly was said?

UFC ‘Doesn’t need somebody to hold his hand’-1

Shortly after the decision was announced, UFC commentator Chael Sonnen went so far as to call Makhachev’s departure a “matzah ball” for his dual championship chances, stating, “Your trainer, mentor, and coach is not going to be training, mentoring, or coaching… it seems like a huge issue. However, after arriving in Sydney late Saturday night, Makhachev spoke with Fox Sports Australia the next morning, stressing that the loss of his coach would not be an issue.

Also Read: UFC 284 Tickets: How to Buy, Ticket Price, Date and Time for Islam Makhachev vs Alexander Volkanovski

“Because no one is there for you when the cage door closes,” he shrugged. The new UFC lightweight champion was then shuttled into town for his first genuine bout against Volkanovski, where he looked to have some choice words for Australia’s No. 1 fighter.

“He simply inquired how training was going,” Volkanosvki said afterward, laughing. “I was asked how my camp had gone in Thailand. Perhaps he’s been collecting intelligence? “I dunno,” the Australian shrugged. “However, if he’s been talking to folks who were there, that’s a wonderful thing. He would have gotten some wonderful feedback. However, Volkanovski highlighted that Nurmagomedov’s absence should not become a story after what he believes will be his triumph at UFC 284.

UFC ‘Doesn’t need somebody to hold his hand’

Also Read: UFC 284: Islam Makhache vs Alexander Volkanovski, biggest fight of all time in UFC History

Asked whether he anticipated the legend’s absence to have an influence on the clash for two UFC belts, he replied: “It better not. And they best not use that as an excuse after this is all over. At the end of the day, Makhachev will prepare, and we will fight. “He doesn’t need somebody to hold his hand. “He doesn’t need anybody in there with him. “That isn’t a true warrior.

So that best not come up when my hand is raised.” Volkanovski also indicated that Nurmagomedov’s participation with Team Makhachev up to this point had provided his competitor treatment that he had never gotten himself throughout his ascension to the world’s No. 1 pound-for-pound position. “Having Khabib on his side has obviously helped in a variety of ways,” the Windang native added. Has witnessed him get specific therapy. “So do I believe he’s a deserving champion? I wholeheartedly agree.

Also Read: UFC 280: Alexander Volkanovski accepts Islam Makhachev challenge for lightweight title fight in Australia

But did he have to go through everything I went through to obtain a championship shot? Perhaps not. However, he defeated the champion and so earned the belt.” Meanwhile, Makhachev said that, although his coach’s departure will be missed, he understood why the father of three had opted to retire from the sport forever. “Of sure, it’ll be different,” the champion replied. “But I’ve already battled a number of times without him. “And he can’t always be there for me.”

Of course, it’s wonderful when he’s here. I like having him around since he is aware of all the games that are being played. He understands what you need for the fight, for the weight cut, you don’t have to worry about any of this. Having someone as seasoned as him is always beneficial. You don’t have to waste your time worrying about other things.

Also Read: UFC 280: Islam Makhachev claims lightweight belt with submission win over Charles Oliveira

However, I recognize that he needs to spend more time with his family. Because, with all the battling and training, his family misses him as well. Even though he is retired, he still travels often. That’s why (the choice) makes sense to me.” Makhachev said that he came three weeks early not just to avoid jet lag, but also to make the required adaptations from training in a Russian winter to fighting in an Australian summer.



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