Featherweight champion Volkanovski (25-1 MMA, 12-0 UFC) will move up in weight to challenge lightweight champ Makhachev (23-1 MMA, 12-1 UFC) in the UFC 284 main event Feb. 11 at RAC Arena in Perth, Australia.
With Volkanovski being the UFC’s No.1 ranked pound-for-pound fighter and Makhachev being No. 2, Sonnen thinks it’s ridiculous to consider it a massive upset.
“No, of course (it’s not a big upset),” Sonnen said on his YouTube channel. “Volkanovski is ranked No. 1, Islam is ranked (No. 2). You have to turn to the pound-for-pound list. It’s the only list that both guys are on.”
Volkanovski is unbeaten in the UFC with title defenses against Max Holloway (twice), Chan Sung Jung and Brian Ortega. Makhachev made it 11 straight when he dominated and submitted Charles Oliveira to capture the vacant lightweight belt at UFC 280.
But Sonnen says with Volkanovski barely ever being in a compromising position in the octagon, beating Makhachev shouldn’t be looked at as an impossible feat. On the other hand, he doesn’t see too much for Makhachev to gain considering he’s defending his title against someone in the weight class below.
“Volkanovski who’s never lost, Volkanovski who’s ranked higher – how would that be shocking news?” Sonnen said. “If Volkanovski gets beat, not only is that something that’s never happened before (in the UFC), any element of that fight that’s going to go against Volk will be something that’s never happened before.”
According to DraftKings, Makhachev is a -330 favorite. Challenger Volkanovski is a +275 underdog.