UFC lightweight king Alex Volkanovski says he "can't afford" to show lightweight champion Islam Makhachev any respect when the cage door closes on their much-anticipated rematch on Sunday, the Aussie promising that he's "going in for the kill" on just 11 days' preparation.
Wollongong's favourite son cut a frustrated figure in the immediate aftermath to the pair's first bout in Perth in February, the scorecards ultimately coming down in favour of Makhachev in a razor-thin unanimous decision.
The fight ended in dominant fashion for Volkanovski, whom many felt should have been awarded a telling 10-8 fifth round, but the 35-year-old has oft-stated the belief that he gave too much regard the Dagestani's famed wrestling pedigree in early rounds.
It was in line with his typical 'prepare for the worst expect best approach' but Volkanovski told Ariel Helwani's MMA Hour podcast that taking the bout on such limited preparation only allows for the latter mentality.
"I probably showed him a little too much respect [last time]," Volkanovski told Helwani.
"Obviously his wrestling's great, so I showed him respect. I've still got that respect but, right now, I can't afford to show him any respect. I always say 'you prepare for the worst', but I'm not going to sit there and kill myself [over it] because I don't have time to prepare for the worst.
"What I do have time to prepare for is what I believe is going to happen and stick to my game plan. That's why I think I'm going to be more dangerous than I've ever been.
"I've never really had this sort of mindset going into a fight, I'm so clear on what I need to do. I can't [think about] all these variables, 'if it goes this way, do this' I ain't accepting any of that.
"I think you're going to see one of the most dangerous Volkanovskis' we've ever seen, purely because I can't afford to do anything else. I want to look at it that way, we're going in for the kill, stuff leaving it to the judges. I believe I finish it."
While he's famed for his meticulously gruelling preparations, Volkanovski said he's relishing the mental freshness that comes with avoiding a gruelling camp like the grappling-heavy prep he endured ahead of their previous bout.
"It's exhausting going through camp sometimes," Volkanovski said.
"You do eight to 12 weeks just bashing yourself mentally and physically. I'm pretty comfortable where I can take this freshness into this fight. It's like it was just yesterday we had a big [Makhachev] camp so everything's still fresh in my mind.
"I've always said I'm the guy that can take these opportunities because I could always do five rounds. Even if I don't train for a year, I've been killing myself for the last 11 years in the gym, every single day, even when I had time off.
"You don't miss a beat when you've been training like that. My experience is there, I know how to fight so I trust that and I knew I'd be able to sharpen things up in that short amount of time.
"I've got 11 days notice... I go out there and take him right out, that's legacy stuff we're talking about. It's going to be mind-blowing for the world to see."
Volkanovski taking such a huge challenge a division above where he's reigned on such a limited preparation unquestionably places a mountain of pressure on Makhachev's shoulders, but the Aussie disagrees with the notion that it's win-win for him.
"A lot of people act like there's nothing to lose for me. That's a lie," Volkanovski said.
"Everyone knows I want this rematch, everyone knows I want this belt and if lose this fight I ain't getting another shot at the title anytime soon, I ain't getting a rematch anytime soon either.
"This is something that everyone knows I've wanted, I've been talking about ever since I walked out of that octagon with him, I wanted this rematch. You hear about him moving up [to welterweight]... this might be my only opportunity.
"There's a lot of things that make this a challenge and make this exciting. It's high-risk, high-reward. On short notice there's still still a bit of pressure on him, he knows what people are going to say, what people are going to think.
"Imagine losing to someone on 11 days [notice], so there's a lot of pressure on him. I'm going to use that against him.
"There's pros and cons. There's a lot of cons, but there's some pros here and that's all I'm focusing on. I ain't focusing on anything else but what I can capitalise on."
Our news app has had a makeover, making it faster and giving you access to even more great content.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.