It's no surprise who UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is hoping to face in his first title defense.
"It's a 50/50 fight," dos Anjos told Submission Radio. "I fought them both. I beat Cerrone and lost to Khabib. I beat Cerrone, but man, Khabib is just coming back from that knee injury. He's out for almost a year. Maybe this could make a difference. Cerrone's been active so that's going to make a difference for him. It's 50/50, it can go either way."
Nurmagomedov scored a unanimous decision over dos Anjos last April at UFC on FOX 11 and won't let the champ forget it.
"I don't want to make any excuses, but I had a couple issues before Khabib's fight," said dos Anjos. "No excuses, he did a great job. He did the perfect strategy. He was able to hold me down and keep the pressure. I wasn't able to defend his takedown, but I'm a different fighter now."
Dos Anjos expects Nurmagomedov to stick with a similar gameplan if they were to fight again, but the champ says he'll gunning for a redemptive submission or knockout.
"At that time I was fighting under a lot of pressure," said dos Anjos. "I was thinking about my title shot. The next fight will be different. If [Nurmagomedov] beats Cerrone I think he'll be a different fighter. I'm a complete fighter right now. I've got extra confidence."
Dos Anjos also detailed a few injury troubles ahead of the fight with Nurmagomedov, including nearly tearing his ear off when it got caught in the cage during training.
"On the day of the fight I was 100% physically but everything that happened during the camp made a difference. To go eight months without fighting. Between Cerrone's fight and Khabib's fight was eight months. I think it made a difference for me."
Having already fought much of the elite at lightweight, dos Anjos wouldn't mind seeing some new blood, especially when its loud. Should No. 1 featherweight contender Conor McGregor beat longtime champion Jose Aldo July 11 at UFC 189, dos Anjos is available.
"I didn't know who Conor McGregor was one year ago," said dos Anjos. "He's going to have a good test now against Aldo. He's been talking a lot. I think he should take care of his business with Aldo, who's going to be a big problem. After that, if he beats Aldo and wants to come to the lightweight division, I would be more than happy to welcome him."
Dos Anjos might be picking Aldo to win, but he sees dollar signs in a champion vs. champion superfight with McGregor.
"For sure, it would be great," said dos Anjos. "Let's sell this fight. It would be good for both of us. It would be good to get this guy if he becomes the featherweight champion. Why not? Let's make it happen if the UFC wants it. I never pick fights."
Dos Anjos appreciates McGregor's ability to promote, but also believes Aldo has been taken advantage of in the leadup, namely during its world tour.
"[McGregor's] selling the fight, but in my opinion he's crossing the line," said dos Anjos. "He's done some things where he's offending Aldo. I think he's taking advantage because Aldo doesn't speak english. He's speaking over him while Aldo is trying to talk. He's taking advantage of him. You can use many ways to sell the fight, but be respectful.
"Don't disrespect your opponent because he's a martial artist. I'm an old school guy. If the guy steps in the Octagon, he's a man. He has balls so you have to respect him."
5 MUST-READ STORIES
Aftermath. Dave Doyle explains how it's your own loss if you don't like watching UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.
Demetrious Johnson's Octagon interview.
Highlights from Quinton Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado.
Dana White talks Johnson, Rampage and Bisping.
UFC 186 post-fight presser highlights. (Full presser here)
Want to thank everybody for getting behind me, my coaches and teammates to always push me in the gym physically and mentally. THANK YOU!— Demetrious Johnson (@MightyMouseUFC) April 26, 2015
Thanks to everybody that supports me,I love entertaining you guys. Happy to be back in the UFC with... https://t.co/W0AyTsKm9o— Quinton Jackson (@Rampage4real) April 26, 2015
I want to thank everyone for there support! I want to thank my team and everyone who was involved in... https://t.co/Qer2s1f3Xk— JohnTheBull Makdessi (@JohnMakdessiMMA) April 26, 2015
Vitoria BRASIL... Obrigado meu deus!! First round is BACK https://t.co/9a9DqfT1B0— Thomas Almeida (@ThomasalmeidaCB) April 26, 2015
Alexis Davis (@AlexisDavisMMA) April 26, 2015
Chad Laprise (@ChadLaprise) April 26, 2015
Nordine Taleb (@NordineTaleb) April 26, 2015
I had an awesome training camp! I have so many people to thank! American Top Team family, all my... https://t.co/JZYNzpc3ci— Valerie Letourneau (@ValTroubleMMA) April 26, 2015
Randa Markos (@randamma) April 26, 2015
Better luck next time.
Did not meet everyone's expectations to also do my best!
皆さんの期待に応えられずにすいませんでした また頑張ります！— Kyoji Horiguchi (@kyoji1012) April 26, 2015
I'm devastated I apologize.
Puxa tudo isso de pessoas me apoiando e eu dei esse mole ..... Estou arrasado pessoal me desculpem do fundo do... http://t.co/8nWA1BTrfz— Fabio Maldonado (@MaldonadoMMA) April 26, 2015
Thank to all my sponsor for this fight you guys have stood behind me for along time. I couldn't ask... https://t.co/BVP9ZNPTOT— CB Dollaway (@cbdollaway) April 26, 2015
Well I got a little squirrely and gave a big opportunity away tonight. No excuses for bad decisions, all I can do is make it up next time.— Shane Campbell (@shaolinstylemma) April 26, 2015
Hey everyone Im. sorry i didnt come out on top tonight. Even thou I thought i did enough, but we are in Canada.... http://t.co/9FwleE2Rm4— JOE RIGGS (@DIESELRIGGSMMA) April 26, 2015
Definitely not the finish I was planning but Alexis snatched the victory from me. Cat zingano get... https://t.co/5DC49A5tiK— Sarah Kaufman (@mmasarah) April 26, 2015
Anyone got a gif of my punch that knocked him down? Tryna make myself feel a little better about that fight— David Michaud (@bulldawgUFC) April 26, 2015
Aisling Daly (@aisydaly) April 26, 2015
If the rumors are true with Jones, hope everyone is ok & if I'm needed to step in 4 the belt I am more than willing to fight AJ @danawhite— Ryan Bader (@ryanbader) April 26, 2015
More Jones reactions.
Told ya— Chael Sonnen (@sonnench) April 26, 2015
Everybody needs a break and friends. Life can be complicated.— Chael Sonnen (@sonnench) April 27, 2015
A hit and run is considered a misdemeanor in #NewMexico— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) April 27, 2015
Correct. Ppl need to chill until legit info comes out tho. https://t.co/jzzv29xeKI— Kenny Florian (@kennyflorian) April 27, 2015
Wtf. What's going on with jon Jones ?? I'm hearing madness— jimi manuwa (@POSTERBOYJM) April 26, 2015
What's up with Jon Jones? He crazy— chris fields (@chrisfieldsmma) April 26, 2015
Since no one knows any real facts or story about anything yet, why don't we shift our stir in passion to helping? http://t.co/63l9R9mqVk— Julie Kedzie (@julesk_fighter) April 26, 2015
Can someone please get this man a chaperone.— Todd Duffee (@ToddDuffee) April 26, 2015
I can only wish the best for JJ. His life is obviously not in the right path and I hope he gets the help he needs.— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) April 26, 2015
Honestly take jones title away if this is true. I feel he is so fake he just gives off that vibe. How stupid do you have to be.— Erik Jon Koch (@NEWBREED04) April 26, 2015
Since we are all speculating about the police tweet, here's a theory Jon was a victim and was hurt by hit and run driver. #waitforfacts— ike vallie-flagg (@IKEVF) April 26, 2015
JUST SO EVERYONE KNOWS: I AM UNDEFEATED AT LIGHT HEAVYWEIGHT IN THE @UFC. IF YOU GUYS NEED ME— Tom Lawlor (@FilthyTomLawlor) April 27, 2015
Get well soon.
Cub Swanson (@CubSwanson) April 24, 2015
You know I just realized I didn't get drug tested. And I do not like that. How is there a card that big where every fighter isn't tested?— David Michaud (@bulldawgUFC) April 27, 2015
Announced this weekend (April 24-26 2015)
Daron Cruickshank vs. James Krause at UFC on FOX 16
Bobby Green vs. Al Iaquinta at UFC Fight Night: Duffee vs. Mir
FANPOST OF THE DAY
Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via D'arce Coke.
A card that once included such matchups as Rory Macdonald vs. Hector Lombard, and T.J. Dillashaw vs. Renan Barão II (and hell, even Abel Trujillo was going up against Makdessi. That shit would've been fun), UFC 186 was very much a butchered card. It featured basically no one considered a decent draw. However, like many other crappy cards usually do, it gave us some damn good fights (except Davis-Kaufman, that was bad). Let's get right into the matchmaking, shall we?
Nordine Taleb vs. Patrick Coté
Chad Laprise vs. Michael Chiesa
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