There was a lot of talk about respect prior to UFC 280 in Abu Dhabi. While Nurmagomedov was disparaging of then champion Oliveira, he maintained that it was all media cooking up the disagreement.
But he disparaged the former champion once again recently – when he said the current featherweight king would be a far tougher opponent for Islam Makhachev.
Nurmagomedov was quoted saying:
“I told Islam, even before the last fight…Volkanovski is going to be tougher than Charles Oliveira,” Nurmagomedov said. “He has good experience. Charles and Volkanovski have the same experience…but if you talk about fighting IQ and big heart, I think Volkanovski is better than him. I think Volkanovski is going to be a tougher opponent for Islam than Charles Oliveira. But who cares? We’re gonna finish this guy.”
Prior to this interview, Nurmagomedov was quoted saying:
“Volkanovski? Clinch, lot of knees; he’s gonna eat a lot of knees. He [Makhachev] is gonna take his [Volkanovski’s] all energy, take him down, and he’s gonna choke him out.”
He went on:
“Of course, Volkanovski can box. He have amazing experience. How many times he defended his title, everything — But, brother, this is like, Thai clinch gonna kill him. Because even if he know this, let him prepare this. How many months? Five months? Six months? This guy [Makhachev] is doing this 20 years.”
Meanwhile Adesanya backed his teammate and even went so far to infer he would bet his old home on Volk:
“So Volk used to be a fat guy. Yeah. Like Big Boy Brawly. He played rugby. And thing is, when you walk around with that kind of body mass for years, you develop a different kind of muscle density inside. But even with Volk, I’ve tried of hold him down.”
“I’m not the greatest wrestler even with my frame and my leverage is hard to hold him down. He finds a way back up. ”
“He even finds a way to get inside on me. Sometimes even striking. A lot of these crafty, crafty veteran, his inside leg kick, his jabs, his hand control, all that. He’s crafty. And Islam is great.”
“Trust me, these Dagi boys, they know what they’re doing. They have their own pedigree and they’re great. But again, I’m biased. Of course they’re going to say that because it’s my boy. Boy, I truly – gun to my head. I could bet a f**k like honestly, I could bet my old house on that.”
“Yeah. Volk is just different. Bro Volk is just the kind of guy that even when he cuts weight, the amount of weight he cuts for him to have the cardio he has in the later rounds. Jordy will tell you the fight. Dietician will tell you it’s mind blowing.”