Volkanovski attributes success to unusual base sport

Sunday, June 24, 2018

When you see a tough ground and pound artist from the United States, he probably wrestled in high school and maybe junior college. When you see a tough ground and pound artist from Russia, the guess it no more difficult – he’s likely a master of sambo.

But what do you think when there’s an Australian, of mixed Macedonian and Greek heritage, who’s dominating all of his fights with a combination of impossible top pressure and vicious strikes? Alexander Volkanovski spoke with the Top Turtle MMA Podcast, and you might be surprised where his grappling chops come from.

“I used to play Rugby League and I was a big boy, so I’m used to throwing a bit of weight around,” said Volkanovski.

His past career in professional rugby gave Volkanovski the body control and athleticism to throw people around in the cage. He feels that having those skills now help him to do things he hasn’t even been taught before.

“I think a lot of my things come naturally. When they’re teaching moves, they’ll teach me something that I’ve sort of always done… It’s nice to know that that’s an actual move,” Volkanovski said with a laugh.

Combine that natural knack for getting people to the ground with a desire to inflict punishment and you have the reason why he’s been so dominant in his UFC career.

“I don’t hang on to things. I’m happy to punch you in the face as you’re transitioning to escapes,” said Volkanovski. “If you get up, I don’t care; I’ll punch you in the face and take you back down. Repeat the process.”

Volkanovski fights Darren Elkins at UFC Boise on July 14th.