From the UFC to the MCG! Islam Makhachev shows off his SERIOUSLY impressive footy skills ahead of lightweight champion’s first title defence against Alex Volkanovski
It’s a rite of passage for any high-profile figure on their first trip to Australia, and Islam Makhachev was unable to escape being thrown a footy ahead of UFC 284.
Fortunately for the all-conquering Dagestani, he proved he is as good with his feet as he is throwing punches inside the Octagon.
Makhachev, 31, defends his lightweight title for the first time this weekend when he takes on Australian star and featherweight champion Alexander Volkanovski in Perth.
The 155-pound king has travelled to Australia with close friend and mentor Khabib Nurmagomedov, but the No 2-ranked athlete in the pound-for-pound rankings has lapped up his time Down Under as he prepares for the biggest fight of his career.
And during the media rounds ahead of UFC 284, somebody chucked the Dagestani a Sherrin football used by AFL footballers.
Islam Makhachev showed off his footy skills ahead of UFC 284 this weekend in Australia
Video footage shared by RMC Sport showed that Makhachev was comfortable with the oval-shaped ball, keeping it up in the air with a number of deft flicks before it ultimately spun out of his control.
With that sort of deftness and a bit more training, the 31-year-old could potentially have swapped the Octagon for the MCG in another life.
While Makhachev attempts to drum up interest in his mega-fight with Volkanovski, the Dagestani has clearly been unhappy with the lack of promotion for the lightweight title fight from UFC president Dana White.
‘Dana White himself has some problems,’ he said. ‘He does not pay much attention to this fight. In terms of pay per view, yes, more could have been done.
‘I only saw Volkanovski once, in Sydney. A tour could be organised around the world, a conference could be held in America.’
But the UFC supremo hit back at Makhachev’s claim, insisting that the Dagestani lacks knowledge when it comes to fight promotion.
Makhachev (left) takes on Alexander Volkanovski (right) at UFC 284 this weekend in Perth
The Dagestani entered into a war of words with UFC president Dana White earlier this week
‘First of all, he lives in Dagestan. What does he know about what’s going on for the promotion of the fight? He doesn’t know anything.
‘It’s going to be one of the top-five biggest fights of all-time. First of all, the event sold out. Right? You couldn’t get a ticket if you wanted to get a ticket in Perth.
‘And this thing is trending right now to be the biggest pay-per-view event in Australia, which, it’s like six percent behind the Conor McGregor [vs. Dustin] Poirier 3 fight.
‘It’s probably going to break the record. So to say that the fight hasn’t been [promoted], that’s just ridiculous. That’s what you call some internet BS.’
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