Alexander Volkov had a new look Saturday.
The UFC heavyweight’s big aesthetic change was in full display during his fight with Walt Harris on the UFC 254 main card in Abu Dhabi. Volkov (32-8 MMA, 6-2 UFC) beat Harris with a second-round TKO. And though it was a vintage performance from Volkov, he did have a new coat of paint.
Volkov got a giant back tattoo following his loss to Cutis Blaydes in June. And since he had a training camp to get done in preparation for UFC 254 a few months later, he couldn’t spend much time at the tattoo parlor or recovering from the sessions.
So instead of waiting until after UFC 254, Volkov got to work (and so did his tattoo artist).
“We did it really quick because I told the tattoo artist that I need this very quick – one or two weeks. And we did it in two weeks,” Volkov said at the UFC 254 post-fight press conference. “It was really painful, it was (expletive) painful. He did say, ‘You want to do this? You’re sure?’ And I said, ‘I’m sure. I don’t have time. I just need to go to camp for my first time.’ So he said, ‘OK – two weeks.’”
And as you might imagine, with a tattoo of that size there was little time to recover in between sessions – and Volkov sure felt it.
“Every day, he was making a tattoo and it was so painful,” Volkov said. “First, for five days it was OK because it takes all day. But the next week was really terrible. I was whining and crying, but I wanted to finish this. I wanted to go to my next fight with a full-made tattoo. But it was a really hard challenge in my life. I don’t want do tattoo more.”
“Drago” could’ve gone a more conventional route and done his tattoo partially before the Harris fight and partially after the bout. However, that’s not how his mind works.
“My mind, I don’t like anything that’s not finished,” Volkov said. “I like that everything is finished. For me, it’s bad to go to the fights and have a tattoo (not done). I just wanted to finish everything and go to the camp. So this says something about me and my mind.”