Two of the best fighters in the world will step into the Octagon early next year. The UFC announced on Saturday that Alexander Volkanovski (25-1), the promotion’s featherweight champion and the No. 1 pound-for-pound fighter in the game today, will go toe-to-toe with Islam Makhachev (23-1), the No. 3 P4P fighter and the recently-crowned lightweight champ, at UFC 284 on Feb. 12, 2023.
The announcement came right before UFC 281, and included that this will serve as Makhachev’s first defense of his title.
— UFC (@ufc) November 12, 2022
A native of Australia, Volkanovski, who has not lost since 2013 and is undefeated in all 12 of his bouts in UFC, will have an advantage in that the event is happening on home soil at RAC Arena in Perth. But he’ll be moving up a weight class for the fight and be at a notable size disadvantage, while Makhachev is on quite the hot streak right now.
A student of former UFC champion Khabib Nurmagomedov, Makhachev won the lightweight title at UFC 280 with a dominant performance over Charles Oliveira. After the fight was over, both Makhachev and Volkanovski made clear that they wanted to step into the Octagon with one another.
“We’re obviously pushing for it,” Volkanovski recently said of a fight between the two. “Everyone wants it. We’re going to make it happen.”
Volkanovski has not fought at lightweight since 2016.