Ex-rugby league star turned UFC champ Alexander Volkanovski unrecognisable after body transformation as he sheds 5 STONE | The Sun

ALEXANDER VOLKANOVSKI is aiming to add the UFC's lightweight belt to his featherweight strap when he fights Islam Makhachev this weekend.

The Aussie superstar will compete at 155lbs, 10lbs heavier than his usual fighting weight.

But that move up shouldn't be a problem for Alexander "The Great" – given that he used to play rugby league FIVE STONE heavier.

Volkanovski, 34, stands at 5ft 6in, a lean fighting machine who boasts an incredible 12-0 record since signing with the UFC in 2016.

But he actually arrived late to the sport, having played semi-professional rugby league to a good standard until quitting aged 23 in 2011.

In March 2020, Volk shared a snap of himself looking distinctly heavier during his rugby days.

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He cheekily captioned it with a quote, writing: "“Did you know he used to weigh 240lbs?…” @joerogan"

Volkanowski initially fought at welterweight as he made his way in his new sport between 2012 and 2013.

Explaining his initial dabble with mixed martial arts during an appearance on Joe Rogan's podcast, Volkanovski said: "I started MMA training just to keep fit while I was playing rugby league, that's when I was 214lbs.

"I'm 5ft 6in on a good day. I was a lot bigger and I wanted to stay fit during the pre-season, so that's why I went and started. I've loved it ever since."

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The drastic move to featherweight followed, and has yielded sensational results.

The Great has beaten future Hall of Famer Max Holloway THREE times – while also knocking off the legendary Jose Aldo – as well as Brian Ortega and the Korean Zombie Jung Chan-sung.

UFC 284 sees the promotion return to Perth, Australia – handing pound-for-pound No1 Volkanovski the chance to grab a second belt in front of his home fans.


Ahead of the mouthwatering match-up with Makhachev, Volk told Submission Radio: "I’ve been feeling more cockiness out of him from some interviews and all that type of stuff.

"I knew that was going to change. Right now, he’s struggling with weight cuts. He’s feeling a little frail. So I was expecting that was going to happen.

"Obviously, I expect smirks to change when we’re in there, as well, when I’m facing off with him when we’re actually fighting.

"He’s going to be filled up. He’s going to be happy he’s filled up when we’re fighting.

"But as soon as I start moving and being that puzzle and him realising that I’m stronger than he originally thought, that smirk starts to change and that puzzled look on their face – and I always notice it."

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