UFC featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski recently revealed that he suffered the first concussion of his combat sports career in his rematch against Islam Makhachev at UFC 294.
In an interview with David Adesanya on the FREESTYLEBENDER YouTube channel, Volkanovski discussed his short-notice lightweight title matchup against Makhachev back in October 2023.
The Australian competitor took the bout on just 11 days’ notice as a replacement for former lightweight champion Charles Oliveira. He ended up losing the match via first-round TKO after absorbing a hard kick to the head from Makhachev.
“I’ve never had the concussion before. So I’m lucky enough to be playing football, yes I’ve been playing rugby league for however long I was and fighting how long I’ve never been concussed…. It messes with your head,” said Volkanovski.
Volkanovski explained that in the week following the concussion, he experienced heightened emotions, anxiety, and had difficulty dealing with things as he normally would. He says that the concussion combined with the disappointment of the loss, made things especially difficult during that time period.
“It was very hard. It was just, you know, obviously, emotional, as you’ve seen on the post-fight press conference. You get agitated easier, uncomfortable and, like weird anxieties. You know what I mean? You’re just a bit of emotional wreck, you just can’t deal with things usually well. I usually deal with things very well,” said Volkanovski.
The 34-year-old said he followed all concussion protocols before returning to training camp ahead of his upcoming title defense against Ilia Topuria at UFC 298. Despite the scary head year injury last year, Volkanovski assured he feels fully recovered and is experiencing no lingering symptoms.
After dominating the 145-pound division for years, Alexander Volkanovski aims to prove he is still the top featherweight in the world when he faces Topuria on February 17, 2024, in Anaheim, California.