Alexander Volkov has done nothing but win since he joined the UFC, and has worked his way into the title shot mix, but recently Daniel Cormier had some solid advice for the heavyweight.
Volkov joined the UFC back in 2016, and after earning a split decision win over Timothy Johnson, the former Bellator champ proceeded to score wins over Roy Nelson and Stefan Struve. Then, earlier this month at UFC Fight Night 127, Volkov bombed out former champ Fabricio Werdum, and has a result, the Russian’s holding down the #3 ranking.
Recently Cormier spoke with Bloody Elbow’s Stephie Haynes, and the light-heavyweight champ was asked for his take on Volkov. Here’s what “DC” had to say:
“I think he’s good. I think Alexander Volkov is the real deal. He’s a fantastic fighter—a big, young guy that can really do his thing. He’s got good cardio, good striking, but I do believe he is better in a five-round fight because he has such a big wrestling deficiency and his acceptance of being taken down and held down.
“In a three-round fight, a guy like Curtis Blaydes that can wrestle, Velasquez…those guys that can really wrestle, they become a problem for him…
“I think the majority of it is that he’s very accepting of the takedown,” said Cormier, when asked if thinks Volkov could improve if he focuses on his wrestling. “He cares, right. He obviously prefers not to be on his back, and when he gets taken down, he doesn’t panic. We saw him grapple for extended periods of time against Werdum, and that’s not an easy thing to do. He’s comfortable there, but when you’re on your back like that, you’re losing, and in a short fight, fifteen minutes, a guy racks up two rounds and you don’t finish him, you end up losing to a guy you may be potentially better than.”
Yup. Pretty hard to take issue with any of what Cormier said here. Volkov did a great job of negating much of Werdum’s top game, and went on to finish the vaunted grappler. But, against a noted wrestler with outstanding cardio, who keeps pressuring and firing down shots, Volkov could spend much of the fight taking punishment.
In other words, until Volkov shores up his takedown defense, and makes scrambling back to his feet a focus, it’s hard to imagine him winning UFC gold.
Cormier, meanwhile, will fight the aforementioned Miocic for the heavyweight title on July 7th at UFC 226.