Volkov’s 41-fight professional MMA career has already seen him
capture championships with Bellator MMA and M-1 Global.
At 32 years old, he may be nearing the most prestigious prize of
them all: the UFC heavyweight strap. Volkov took another step
toward that goal with a dominant performance in the
UFC Fight Night 184 headliner on Saturday night, as he defeated
perennial contender Alistair
Overeem via technical knockout 2:06 into Round 2 of their bout
at the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Volkov bloodied Overeem with precise
and powerful punches, flurrying effectively against the fence when
the Dutchman went into his trademark defensive shell.
That punishment took its toll, and “Drago” clinched his victory
with a left hook that sent Overeem tumbling to the canvas. Referee
Jason Herzog wasted no time stepping in before Volkov could do any
“I work a lot with my jab and striking. I also work a lot on my
wrestling. I was feeling good with my standup and felt I could
finish him in the second or third round,” Volkov said. “I saw his
face. He had a lot of cuts. I was just waiting for a good
Dating back to 2016, the 6-foot-7 Russian has won nine of 11 bouts,
a stretch that includes victories over the likes of Overeem,
Struve, Roy Nelson
Johnson. Were it not for a furious rally from Derrick
Lewis at UFC 229, that number could be 10 of 11, but Volkov
believes he is nearing a title shot.
Volkov figures to be behind Curtis
Blaydes in the divisional pecking order. Blaydes outwrestled
Volkov in a five-round decision victory this past June and is
scheduled to meet Lewis at UFC Fight Night 185 on Feb. 20.
Miocic will defend the heavyweight crown against Francis
Ngannou at UFC 260 on March 27.
Volkov will be an interested observer in both cases.
“I want to fight for the belt, for sure,” he said. “There are some
good fights [coming up] at heavyweight and we will see how they
finish. We will see where [I fit in], but I want a title shot.”