In the night from 17 to 18 March Alexander Volkov knocked out Fabricio Werdum at the UFC in London and was, perhaps, the main contender for a title fight in the best organization in the world. While it is still “nobody believes,” and fans writing a personal message that Stipe Miocic will move it. About this, the wishes of fans and a newborn son, in an interview with Alexei Safonov.
“Deliberately provoked Werdum and he decided to be cut”
Kind of thought the first takedown you missed because of a show-off since the beginning of the fight and just did not have time to prepare for the passage.
– To the aisle I was ready, but the specifics of the passage from Werdum different. To it was not ready, Yes. But my defiance was special, as is his manner: to cheat, to deceive. I had to throw him off his game, use his chips himself. Before the game came up with the idea that I need to be as confident and unflappable. Had to behave more provocatively, to make him angry and he didn’t stick to my plan.
Did you make it?
– As you can see — Yes. He has made a major mistake in our battle — come with me to be cut. This was due to the fact that I purposefully provoked him. This was well ready for his wrestling, his JIU-jitsu. The fact that he transferred me to the ground — was not a key moment. The thing of it was, as I’ll be working downstairs. I was looking at the statistics after the fight — 3 of 9 passes were successful from Werdum, which is very little. Everybody is looking for the takedown, but if we consider our fight as a fight in the grappling, he could not do anything, even points to gain. Well, except for transfers. No damage dealt, and any of my shock he was very shaken. My work was more effective, although nominally he was on top.
– The entire fight was a calculated decision or was there a moment when he realized that something goes wrong?
On the contrary: confidence only grew. As soon As I took the right position and realized that he can’t do anything with my garden, I realized that equal able to fight it on the ground. Then came the calm. Then we had to get him to contact much more difficult to knock out the man who runs away from you. As soon As I realized that the moment had come, spent a little more than long hand than before.
– When working from the bottom you were just defending yourself, or do not exclude attempts of pain suffocating?
– Honestly, a couple of moments of thought to make a triangle, but, of course, to catch Werdum in this very difficult. Quickly gave up because almost paid for it.
In that exchange you yourself missed anything weighty?
– Everything was casual, the shock is not felt. But when we went to exchange, even then I saw that he had a fuzzy movement.
Now, to oppose the representative of the JIU-jitsu better than probation, 10 years ago? Already more studied, everyone knows that they cheat.
– Actually, Werdum is not a typical representative of JIU-jitsu. He looked good in the rack with Cain Velasquezes and many other fighters. He’s got a high level striking technique and he’s very versatile. He just thought that the difference in the Desk, which to my advantage will be with the same advantage on the ground, only for him. But this was not.
– You just realized that he fell for no tricks, and was knocked down?
– He is a hundred percent fell shocked. But first I went around the legs so he couldn’t catch me in a metal. This time I was controlled and beaten on the side. If I had waited, he likely would come: it was necessary to act immediately and harshly.
– What kind of gesture you showed after it finished?
Perhaps this will be my new thing.
Thank you all for the congratulations! In turn, I want to Express my gratitude to those who contributed to this victory! My life has been an amazing way so that the people around me to encourage, guide, motivate and help me to do what you love, and not to be distracted by anything. Thank you to all our team @strelapromotion in the face of head coach @taras_kiyashko , Michael Hare @mikhail_zayats_, trainer at the JIU-Jitsu Dmitry Selivakhin and Manager Ivan Bannikov and all the guys from the team who helped me in this preparation. Thank you coach @global_fight_gym Vladimir Turchenko and Sensei @maxdedik for helping otaxiani my striking techniques. I want to thank Vasily Volkov @itrener for help in the preparation. The doctor of sports medicine, Valentine belyaevskiy @doc_livsey , which helps me keep healthy, in spite of the load and injury. Thanks to the great wrestling coach @boltwrestling Thanks to everyone who came to sparring, and helped in the preparations for the battle, to all those who contributed to this victory! And , of course, special thanks to my wife @vita_volkova_ for what motivates me to new achievements! Well, go ahead? #strelapromotion #ufc #reebok #ufcrussia #reebokrussia #ufcreebok #alexandervolkov
“In any case do not want to compete with Habib”
– What’s next?
– We are waiting for the title fight. According to the plan and the agreement, the winner of the bout with Werdum will fight for the belt. Will or not find out. My Manager Ivan Bannikov will begin negotiations and I think closer to fight between Stipe with Michican and Daniel Cormier will be clear who will be the next contender. Rating me only Overeem and Ngandu. Alistar even before he recently lost, and Francis too. They need to Express themselves in new ways, to get titulnik. So only I remain. This may be disadvantageous to the UFC from the media point of view, but with sports — no one closer to me.
– However, the title may have to wait quite a long time not to fight. Plus coming tournament in Russia in September.
– Of course, it would be ideal that I was fighting for the belt in Russia. But here must match many factors. UFC here need partners to conduct a big tournament. UFC need to choose the format of the tournament to spend titulnik. Plus the essential other high-profile fights that the competitors were ready to speak. But nothing is impossible. I think it will be a very profitable fight for the UFC and for the Russian fans. This event would collect full “Olympic”. In terms of “wait” – I’m ready to lose time in vain I will not, I will train.
Just have one more question. If Khabib Nurmagomedov defeats Tony Ferguson and becomes the champion, then obviously the tournament in Russia in particular would have done for him. But it’s an absolute utopia to the debut event, we had two title fights.
– I Habib in any case do not want to compete. He fights in the UFC much longer than I, and has a longer winning streak. He deserved a title shot. But I’m talking about it, if Habib will suddenly have other plans. Plus I have my own. In any case, not for me to decide and not him. May be, there will be two title fights, who knows? If you fail to fight for the belt in Russia, I am ready to do it elsewhere.
– About a verbal agreement with the UFC, I understand, but what contract?
Now I’m already on the third contract. Do not rule out that, again, we will re-sign. When I got to the organization, to me they are a little underestimated, however, as fans, to which I’m accustomed. For victory over their opponents, I get paid three times less than they do in defeat. But I can’t say that I’m not satisfied with something, I am happy. And in this contract I spelled out the item in the champion’s fight: the amount of are completely different and the UFC are considering me seriously.
Truthful information that the fight you got about 130 thousand dollars?
– Well, approximately.
– There was a line: for the media — four thousand dollars. What is it? Now pay for communication with the media?
– I honestly don’t know, never looked. After the battle I get a physical examination and then immediately sign the check. There is a list, but all the documents stay with my Manager. So I can’t say what exactly was.
We are both ready for battle! And you? #strelapromotion #ufceurope
“Enjoy the fact that nobody believes me”
– How do you feel about the fact that you constantly no one believes?
– It is normal. I’m still using. This is not unusual: this is my style of combat. Habib, for example, I don’t know, though lost the round? He always works the number one. I for his weight class did not differ in the extra data in terms of physical strength, maybe endurance, skills. So you have to use different tactics and turn his head. To sacrifice something. Makes no sense to spend a lot of effort to protect against passes to feet, if I still will be there. It is better to take a more advantageous position on the ground. At first glance it seems that I’m inferior. But it is a necessity to win somewhere else. So I understand the fans of MMA. However, it is a pity that after our fights, my opponents all transferred to the category of bags (smiling).
– So you’re not bored and not angry?
– No of course. It’s even a plus. If you look at the extreme: even when you want to defeat, it is also conventional popularity, watching you.
Before or after the battle read the comments?
– Who was the first call after the victory over Werdum?
Wife. She usually tries not to look directly at the TV, but this time I watched and was sure that everything would be fine.
– All night the calls?
– In training camp. Press conference, the drug testing, got to the hotel, Packed up, rested an hour and already went to the airport. To chat, especially with no one failed. Of course, phoned my parents and I contacted friends and tried to answer who could, but the rest did in Moscow. Many messages, all write does not work: I really enjoy support, even if I didn’t respond to the message.
– What is the most unusual wish you received?
– There are interesting messages: “We congratulate you of course, but Miocic you’ll still move”. This, too, write to me. And before Nelson, and Struve before, and before Verdum wrote. But most still want the championship belt.
– Staged the fans of surprises, sent a gift unexpectedly?
– Surprisingly no, but was that people were treated who lived on the Kamchatka Peninsula, and requested the posters. They have physically no way to get to these guys I sent a small gift. But we periodically organize contests and promotions, giving away gloves, doing autograph sessions — communication with fans is very necessary.
– Did you have the “star disease”?
It’s hard to say, it can be seen from the outside. Certainly was not extreme poverty, I never considered myself more privileged than others. Grew up in an ordinary family. Thanks to the parents ‘ upbringing and my environment, I respect people of any profession. Of course, maybe the feeling itself, but they arise for all young people when gaining some confidence and move on to more independent living.
– It became more difficult to move around shopping malls and crowded places?
Difficult no, but sometimes you want privacy. Overall, I don’t see any big effort for himself to be photographed with someone or to exchange a couple of words. Another thing is that people are too obsessive in their aspirations and understand that I can in a hurry. But these are few and they can understand. Do not consider that I for someone star.
– After the fight with Werdum all about you sharply remember: once someone fought at tournaments, and so on. People several years of silence, and now spoke.
On the contrary, take this positively. I am grateful almost all the organizations and people with whom I have face and where I was fighting. Each of them helped shape my career. This history and experience. If now it will bring someone a favor, I see only a positive thing. It is a mutual PR.
– At a press conference, you suddenly appeared in a suit. Now you’ll always be in style?
– A few months before the fight I met with the leadership Workshop Classic Costume, found with them common topics of conversation. They came up with the idea to make a suit just under the Werdum fight, to emphasize my image. Plus coincided with the fact that the fight was held in London, where the gentlemanly tradition. Unfortunately, the press conference failed to show the lining, which was made in the Russian style, but all designed and made perfectly. I hope this will become a tradition.
– Aren’t you shackled?
– Slightly unusual feel in the center of attention, the costume really many made an impression. After the press conference was already approached by representatives of the UFC and said that everything was cool and it looked really cool. Although when I just tried it on, the first thing asked is it too solemn for such an event? It turned out that all the topic.
– Yes, dear. It was made together with the shoes, the jewelry, all in the same style.
Today was the Sabbath day, full of Affairs. Including mandatory training schedule) But it ended in the Studio of Classical Suit. Guess what event masters from @mastersuit cook me a new look?
“Son from London did not bring anything — not yet. But soon this excuse will not fly”
Of karate helps you in MMA?
Karate is not just a sport. Any Oriental martial art, especially Japanese — is a separate philosophy. It’s a lifestyle, a path. For karate karate in everything: eating, walking, sleeping. Karate is discipline and respect for elders. When this is laid to a child, then it is passed in the future, whatever he was doing. My style of fighting changed, but it is in any case closer to karatitsky. It is not designed for clean competitions in karate, but is well suited for mixed martial arts. How many don’t perform, basically work those things and the skills that were taught in childhood.
– In 2020 karate be in the Olympics. Wouldn’t want, say, to finish his career by winning a medal there, somewhere in 2024 or 2028?
– Of course not. Nuances play a role. At this point, I’m too old. Olympics for the young. I’m not so young for Games. Then karate, which will at the Olympics in sports, not my base style. Think I will be difficult to win even the championship of Moscow, will have very hard to prepare. So not my profile.
– What are Kendo?
– Also very cool stuff. Fencing with the sword, if I may say so, even the progenitor of all martial arts of the East. Including teaches the principles of combat, movement, distance, timing.
– That is for you is not only fun, but rewarding experience?
– First, you can be distracted from their regular job. Any single combat — a fight with yourself as to not sound trite. Kendo helps to sharpen concentration and explosive work. It is very important to break the opponent psychologically, though it is not so noticeable. Your rod should be more powerful than the opponent. In the old Japanese films are shown, as are two samurai, and the third is far away and says: “This is already lost”. Just the way he is. This ability to be concentrated and collected. At the exit of the masters of Kendo is already clear who will lose. Before the first blow. Here it is necessary to carry the fight in MMA.
Ahead of the fight with Werdum, you’ve become a happy father. Are you affected by any of the parties?
– Can affect only in a positive way. Really wanted a baby and our son was born. For any men it is very important, although, of course, I would be glad and daughter. But the son is a very important event in a man’s life. This gave more strength and desire to exercise. As for the household, then the wife helped and coped with everything, did not have any distractions.
– After the battle has already begun to make up for the child?
– Of course, I’m very interested to be with the family and child. How I will schedule between communicating with journalists, I will devote time to the family (laughs).
Something brought the son from London?
– Honestly — no, apart from the check (laughs). For fighters — it’s a job, not a tourist trip. Before the fight walk only in the vicinity of the hotel, and they didnt have anything that could bring their monthly child. And after the game immediately flew away. But after a year or two this excuse will not fly (laughs).
– Thanks to your nickname of “Drago”, as well as the spectacular knockouts, you more perceived as a brutal fighter. But at home you’re afraid of something that, for example, will not work something to do with your son?
I’m trying to build an image of a smart fighter. At the very least, wants to believe. I think that’s my Forte. I want to open up from the point of view of what men — interesting and versatile. But answering the question with a child I was quite confident. I always got along with children, but it was hard with a small chest, I didn’t know how to get them on his hands. But with its all happened at once: present at birth, there is explained how to deal with kids, nothing complicated. There were not fears. And so, at home, of course, I’m softer and more sentimental than than life. But mostly it’s a question my wife (smiles).