Coach: Khabib Nurmagomedov deserves a No. 1 contender fight

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov's division-best six-fight UFC win streak is nothing if not impressive. And the Dagestani standout's latest triumph, a clear-cut victory over former top-five contender Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 11, was no exception.

Nurmagomedov ran a takedown clinic on dos Anjos, snapping the Brazilian's own five-fight win streak in a contest that was even more lopsided than the judges' unanimous 30-27 scores indicated.

"The Eagle" is now the No. 5 ranked lightweight under UFC employment, and on Monday's episode of The MMA Hour, his coach, American Kickboxing Academy overseer Javier Mendez, suggested that Nurmagomedov deserves to be jockeying for No. 1 contendership the next time fight fans get to see him perform.

"Because of his position, as many wins as he's had in the UFC, (it makes sense) that he gets a No. 1 contender spot in his next fight," Mendez said. "I think it's only logical. I think the fans would want to see it, and I think that Joe Rogan alluded to the fact that him and Anthony Pettis, if Pettis is still champ, would be a great fight. And I couldn't disagree."

With an undefeated 22-0 record, a black belt in judo, and various combat sambo accolades, Nurmagomedov's résumé is unquestionably imposing.

Of course, at 25 years old, Nurmagomedov is still a work in process. But Mendez is confident that even an incomplete version of the man who's averaging nearly 11 takedowns per fight over his last three bouts, including a record-shattering 21-takedown romp over Abel Trujillo last May, is enough to give anyone in the division fits.

"His striking is still evolving," Mendez said. "He's, in my opinion, still pretty green in the stand-up, but his sambo and his wrestling is top notch. I frankly don't see anybody in the lightweight division being able to handle that part of what he has, so that alone is a monster for anybody."

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