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Khabib Nurmagomedov: Donald Cerrone deserves title shot if he beats John Makdessi

Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Khabib Nurmagomedov put the trash talk to rest -- at least for a few minutes.

On Monday's edition of The MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, Nurmagomedov said that he believes Donald Cerrone should get the next lightweight title shot if he beats John Makdessi at UFC 187 on May 23 in Las Vegas.

"I think if 'Cowboy' wins, he have [an] eight-fight win streak and this is awesome," Nurmagomedov said. "He deserves [it]."

Cerrone and Nurmagomedov were supposed to fight each other at MGM Grand, but Nurmagomedov tore his meniscus two weeks ago and had to pull out. Nurmagomedov was attempting to come back from ACL surgery and has not fought since April 2014.

Still, with that said, he believes he should be next in line for a title shot if Makdessi beats Cerrone by process of elimination. Cerrone and Anthony Pettis would be coming off losses and Benson Henderson and Gilbert Melendez have lost recent title fights. Nurmagomedov plans on returning to the Octagon by September or October.

"If 'Cowboy' lose, I want to fight for the title when I come back," Nurmagomedov said.

If Cerrone wins, Nurmagomedov thinks "Cowboy" should face champion Rafael dos Anjos and the Dagestan native wants to fight Pettis and Nate Diaz -- on the same night.

Nurmagomedov is also not confident Cerrone will absolutely beat Makdessi, who is not ranked in the UFC's lightweight top 15.

"I think this fight is more easy than me, but I don't think this fight is easy for [Cerrone], because this guy has a style a little bit hard for him," Nurmagomedov said. "This guy all the time pressure, aggressive fighter."

Eventually, though, Nurmagomedov wants to see Cerrone across the cage from him. The UFC has tried to put that fight together on multiple occasions, but it has not worked out.

"I want fight with this guy, because two times UFC gives me this fight and two times I have been injured," Nurmagomedov said. "One day I want to fight with this guy."

Cerrone was classy when Nurmagomedov got injured, not turning the knife with trash talk on social media. Nurmagomedov was really the one hyping up the fight with words anyway. But this time, he kept it real.

"If he lose, I promote my title fight," Nurmagomedov said. "If he wins, he deserves it. Eight-fight win streak, this is no joke."

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