Alexander Volkanovski has been ‘obsessed’ with exacting his revenge against Islam Makhachev while Kamaru Usman was not the UFC’s first choice to face Khamzat Chimaev as the pair prepare for short-notice showdowns at UFC 294
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  • Alexander Volkanovski reportedly ‘obsessed’ with rematching Islam Makhachev
  • Featherweight champion stepped in on 11 days notice for UFC 294 main event
  • UFC explored other options for co-main event before turning to Kamaru Usman 

Alexander Volkanovski has reportedly been ‘obsessed’ with the prospect of rematching Islam Makhachev ahead of their lightweight title fight at UFC 294.

The UFC Featherweight Champion takes Makhachev on Saturday night as a short-notice replacement having has just 11 days to prepare for the event’s headline bout.

However, the 35-year-old has been chomping at the bit for the chance to take on Makhachev once more, after the lightweight king handed him his first UFC defeat earlier this year.

After the promotion returned to Volkanovski’s native Australia for UFC 293 last month, Volkanovski met with UFC Chief Business Officer Hunter Campbell to discuss the next defence of his 145lb title.

However, according to a report from ESPN, while plans were made for a future clash with featherweight contender Ilia Topuria, what stood out to Campbell was Volkanovski’s burning desire to exact revenge against Makhachev. 

Alexander Volkanovski has reportedly been 'obsessed' with the prospect of rematching Islam Makhachev

Alexander Volkanovski has reportedly been ‘obsessed’ with the prospect of rematching Islam Makhachev 

Makhachev handed the Australian his first defeat inside the Octagon at UFC 284 earlier this year

Makhachev handed the Australian his first defeat inside the Octagon at UFC 284 earlier this year

But Volkanovski will get his shot at redemption when the pair face off at UFC 294 on Saturday

But Volkanovski will get his shot at redemption when the pair face off at UFC 294 on Saturday

‘[Volkanovski] kept saying to me, “I know that if I get another opportunity, I can beat him,”‘ Campbell said. ‘He was obsessed with it.’ 

Makhachev was given the nod at UFC 284 following an action-packed five rounds that divided fans, with some arguing that Volkanovski deserved the decision.

It was expected that the pair would meet again inside the Octagon at some point possibly next year, but fate has brought the Australian back into the fold.

After Charles Oliveira was forced to withdraw from his own highly-anticipated rematch with Makhachev, Volkanovski wasted no time in accepting the opportunity to replace the Brazilian in a bid to become a two-weight world champion.

While Volkanovski was the UFC’s first choice as late-notice replacement in Saturday’s main event, the same could not be said for Kamaru Usman.

After weeks of speculation Paulo Costa was ruled out of his co-main event clash with Khamzat Chimaev, with the former welterweight champion announced as the Brazilian’s replacement to much fanfare.

However, prior to Costa being officially removed from the event the UFC explored multiple options before ultimately turning to Usman. 

Sean Strickland was first contacted to replace Paulo Costa against Khamzat Chimaev

The UFC then turned to Jared Cannonier, but he suffered an injury of his own

The UFC contacted both Sean Strickland and Jared Cannonier to replace Paulo Costa against Khamzat Chimaev

But with both unavailable the promotion turned to former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman

But with both unavailable the promotion turned to former welterweight champion Kamaru Usman 

The promotion are said to have first turned to Sean Strickland as a potential replacement, a move that would’ve elevated the co-headliner into a middleweight title bout.

Just six weeks removed from his triumph over Israel Adesanya at UFC 293, though, Strickland reportedly declined the fight, noting that the timing did not make sense for him.

Perennial middleweight contender Jared Cannonier was also contacted as a potential replacement, but the American then suffered his own injury in training, ruling him out of the fight.

With two potential options unavailable, the UFC turned to Usman and the 36-year-old agreed to take the fight with the stipulation that he will be granted a middleweight title shot should he hand Chimaev his first defeat. 



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