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Morning Report: Rafael dos Anjos hoping for rematch with Khabib Nurmagomedov before superfight with Conor McGregor

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Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

It's no surprise who UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos is hoping to face in his first title defense.

Lightweight contenders Khabib Nurmagomedov and Donald Cerrone battle for the shot May 23 at UFC 187, but dos Anjos wants revenge against the undefeated Dagestani.

"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."

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5 MUST-READ STORIES

Not good. UFC light heavyweight champion Jon Jones has been named the suspect in a hit-and-run car accident in Albuquerque, N.M., according to Albuquerque Police Department.

Post show. Ariel Helwani and Chuck Mindenhall break down the top storylines coming out of UFC 186.

Aftermath. Dave Doyle explains how it's your own loss if you don't like watching UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson.

Not impressed. Rashad Evans says if he fought 'that Rampage,' he'd catch him with a 'highlight reel' knockout.

'His day will come.' Dana White says he doesn't 'give a sh*t' if people were leaving during the UFC 186 main event.

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MEDIA STEW

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Highlights from Georges St-Pierre and Rory MacDonald's Q&A session. (Full video here)

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Demetrious Johnson's Octagon interview.

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Highlights from Quinton Jackson vs. Fabio Maldonado.

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Dana White talks Johnson, Rampage and Bisping.

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UFC 186 post-fight presser highlights. (Full presser here)

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Free Fight: Cain Velasquez vs. Brock Lesnar.

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Long watches.

Rashad Evans joins The Fighter and The Kid

...

Invicta FC 12: Post-fight Press Conference

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TWEETS

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Victory lap.

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Better luck next time.

Did not meet everyone's expectations to also do my best!

I'm devastated I apologize.

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Interested?

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More Jones reactions.

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#frenchie

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Get well soon.

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Nice.

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Damn.

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FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Announced this weekend (April 24-26 2015)

Chico Camus vs. Henry Cejudo at UFC 188

Zak Cummings vs. Antonio Braga Neto at UFC on FOX 16

Soa Palelei vs. Antonio Silva at UFC 190

Kevin Lee vs. James Moontasri at UFC Fight Night: Duffee vs. Mir

Daron Cruickshank vs. James Krause at UFC on FOX 16

cancelled Mark Eddiva vs. Alex White at UFC Fight Night: Edgar vs. Faber

Bobby Green vs. Al Iaquinta at UFC Fight Night: Duffee vs. Mir

Michael Page vs. Rudy Bears at Bellator 140

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FANPOST OF THE DAY

Today's Fanpost of the Day comes via D'arce Coke.

Sunday Morning Matchmaker: UFC 186

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?

Prelim Fighters

Winners

Randa Markos vs. Rose Namajunas/Nina Ansaroff winner

Valérie Létorneau vs. Seo Hee Ham OR Kailin Curran/Alex Chambers winner

Nordine Taleb vs. Patrick Coté

Olivier Aubin-Mercier vs. Gilbert Burns

Chad Laprise vs. Michael Chiesa

...

Check out the rest of the post here.

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