Follow ENGAGE ATHLETE Alexander “The Great” Volkanovski as he prepares to take on number 10 ranked UFC Featherweight Darren “The Damage” Elkins.
Alex V.: Uh, we’re in Idaho, we just arrived yesterday. The boys are ready … ready for a big week. Ready for a big week of drinking water, that’s about it all week.
Joe Lopez: Well, at the moment Alex is just steaming so far ahead that we’ve had to slow him down, so we brought this guy over here … if you want to bring the camera over … to slow him down a bit. This guy here, he’s the … we call him the handbrake. He slow- … he slows everybody down. He’s totally useless, so by bringing him in we slow Alex down so he doesn’t peak too early.
Joe Lopez: Sounds about right.
Brad Riddell: What do you want me to say something now?
Joe Lopez: Yeah.
Brad Riddell: I hate this whole team.
Joe Lopez: (laughs)
Alex V.: He loves it.
Alex V.: I’m pretty … I’m pretty small for this division, but at the same time I’m reasonably heavy for my weight, as well. People look at me and think: “Oh, he wouldn’t have to cut any weight.” I do still need to cut weight. You know, I still walk around 75, you know, kilograms. I used to get really heavy. I used to be 86 KG, you know, like I s- … I would fight, and then within a week I’m back up to 86 kilograms, which is huge. That’s a middleweight for people that w- … well, what pound is that 185 is it?
Alex V.: Yeah, 185. So that’s what I used to get up. And then, you know, six weeks I’ll … I’ll get back down to 145.
Alex V.: Going through weight-cut week in a fight week, it’s just … mate, it’s a lot of water. A lot of water, and then chicken and nuts. The last few days, just chicken and nuts. I won’t get into too many details, but that’s what it’s like. You know, I’m about five, six kilograms out at the start of the week, and then the rest just goes down. I’ll probably only lose one, two maximus on a …
Alex V.: I would just say they’re going to … we’ll have a light little roll, and just drill some stuff on the ground very quickly, and then, uh, do a few rounds just moving around on the feet, light … light pads.
Alex V.: Well, mo-most of my camp, uh, I done at City Kickboxing, so I been there. I was there last camp as well, and training with the boys: Brad Riddell, Izzy, Dan Hooker, Shane Young. And, you know, it’s been great. You know, the boys are … are coming off victories, so training over there at City Kickboxing was unreal, obviously, to be with them, and train with such high-level guys. But to be a part of, you know, the ANZAC’s takeover, that … that’s what we’re saying, you know. We’re literally taking over, mate. We’re just on fire at that moment.
Alex V.: Coming off three wins out of the camp in the last three weeks, and I’m about to make that four. And, mate, it’s just, you know, it’s really there. It’s motivating. You know, I mean I’ve been training with these guys, and to see them not only win, absolutely outclass these guys, and that’s, you know … we’re come … we’re … we’re sort of training out of the same sort of gyms, you know. Obviously, I fight out of Freestyle Fighting Gym, but I’m going to have my … my coach, Joe, there. So he knows … no one knows me as well as he does. And then I’ve been training with the boys, and we all got game plans. We’re all keen, and, again, coming out with … boys coming off wins like that has just motiva- … made … motivated me even more. It made me believe that … Yeah, I can go out there and completely dominate as well. So I can’t wait to just go out there and, uh, put on another performance, make that four good performances in a row for the ANZAC’s.
Alex V.: You go to the … any UFC event, it’s always usually the same: You’re at the hotel, you go get your Reebok gear, everything’s pretty much in the hotel. You know what I mean? So a lot of it’s very similar, so I don’t really get like, “Oh, you know, where am I?” And feel out of place.
Alex V.: Is that the stadium?
Speaker 6: Yeah, that’s the arena.
Speaker 7: Isn’t that crazy?
Alex V.: So hotel just here, and there’s the stadium. How about that? Dang.
Alex V.: One way to mentally prepare, isn’t it?
Alex V.: To be honest, like, uh, everything … I love everything about fighting, I really do, but I always can’t wait … even when I go in there … I just can’t wait to get the win and get it over and done with, and then soak it … soak it up. So I love the whole … whole career side of things.
Speaker 8: 155.5. Okay, and the …
Alex V.: Same, exact same as mine. That makes things easy, doesn’t it?
Speaker 8: Yeah, always, uh, keep checking that during the week, we’d advise, if you got your own scale.
Alex V.: Yeah?
Speaker 8: We had guys for an event that went on a scale from Walmart.
Alex V.: Oh, really? (laughs)
Speaker 8: Checked it once, tossed the thing on the floor …
Alex V.: Oh.
Speaker 8: Came down the night before the weigh-in, checked it again. That scale, somehow when they threw it, got two pounds off.
Alex V.: Yeah, maybe …
Speaker 9: Yeah. Yeah.
Speaker 8: I mean this guy spent a day just grinding himself because nobody throughout the week rechecked it, so …
Alex V.: I’ll be happy if I don’t get touched, and I absolutely just obliterate the guy. You know what I mean? And just execute my game plan, and just go in there and get a, you know, quick victory. Walk out, enjoy … enjoy the winning, you know. Soak up the crowd. All that sort of stuff.
Alex V.: It’s unreal. It’s … It’s exactly what I wanted. You know, it’s been a little while since I-I last fought. I fought in February. You know … well, I usually want to fight more regular than that; but I want a ranked opponent, and I wanted it in … in the US.
Alex V.: I got the phone call that I got Darren Elkins in Boise, and I was like, “What?” Mate, it was worth the wait. So, you know, I’m ready to go out there and really … really capitalize on this opportunity. You know, I’m going to have a lot of eyes on this side of the world on me, and I’m going to, you know, really grab that opportunity. And, uh, then I’m going to have everyone jump on board.