Volkanovski (26-3) is coming off a knockout loss to lightweight champion Islam Makhachev in his last outing. He accepted the fight on 11-days notice and went up a division to challenge for the 155-pound championship.
Topuria (14-0) is confident headlining into the title bout. He’s predicted a first-round finish and said things like Volkanovksi ‘doesn’t have a chance.’
“Good on him in the sense that you have to be confident. You have to back yourself. The only thing is, we’ll see how confident he is. I plan on doing what I do in February. You might see a bit of change change in his tone after that,” Volkanovski told ESPN.
“He hasn’t had somebody to do that to him yet. That’s why I believe he’ll get taught a lesson, maybe a bit of humbling. Maybe he’s a good kid but he’s definitely confident. Cocky I would say. Some people may say it’s a little bit delusional. I’ve said that myself, but again sometimes you need to be delusional.”
“It definitely can be a positive to be that confident, but at the same time if he’s just used to being the hammer he’s going to crumble. And you could see him crumble pretty easily in February and that’s what I plan on doing,” continued Volkanovski.
“I plan on showing him that I am the king of this division and have been for a long time and that’s for a good reason. I plan on reminding everyone of that on February 17th.
Topuria is coming off a one-sided unanimous decision win over Josh Emmett in his last fight. Prior to that, he submitted Bryce Mitchell. Volkanovski doesn’t think Topuria’s resume justifies the confidence.
“He’s fought some alright competition but the resume doesn’t back his confidence,” Volkanovski said. “If he starts getting more Top 5s or champions that list, alright. Now there’s some credibility behind your cockiness, or whatever it is. But he hasn’t proved that yet. Look, he can try and prove it on February. I don’t think he’ll be proving his point. I think I’ll prove mine and he’ll be humbled and you won’t hear him talk like that after that anyway.”