Nurmagomedov has been chasing a title fight all year long on the back of his undefeated record and number one ranking and was actually offered two different fights against Eddie Alvarez; unfortunately for Nurmagomedov, Alvarez and the UFC had other plans. Alvarez faced McGregor at UFC 205 instead of the Dagestani and it turned out that the fight offers given to Nurmagomedov were merely a ploy used as leverage by the UFC. Nurmagomedov was furious. He accepted a fight at 205 against Michael Johnson, but declared that after that, his next fight would be for the belt or he wouldn't fight at all.
Nurmagomedov hasn't backed down from that stance and, speaking with RT Sport recently, said he enjoyed the experience of fighting on the historic card but explained that he believes he was only on the prelims because the UFC doesn't want to give him the proper push.
"I felt good because [whether] the UFC puts me on the main card or prelims, it doesn't matter. You have to fight. Main card cage closes the same in prelims, same cage closes... But I think UFC put me in prelims because they don't want to make my name as big because they have to take care of Conor. They don't want to promote my name very good."
In fairness to the UFC, Nurmagomedov's frequent injuries have made consistent promotion a somewhat challenging task. Nurmagomedov took almost two full years off due to injuries before returning earlier this year against Darrel Horcher. However, Nurmagomedov has made the most of his time this year, dominating Johnson at UFC 205 and then cutting a memorable promo after the fight wherein he called McGregor "chicken" and questioned the validity of McGregor's title shot when he was tapped by Nate Diaz earlier this year.
It was an excellent move made all the more successful by Tony Ferguson - the other lightweight contender with a legitimate title shot pending - declined to give any sound bites after he win over Rafael dos Anjos. When McGregor took the title off of Alvarez later that evening, suddenly Nurmagomedov has inspired interest in a true rarity in MMA, a Conor McGregor title defense. And like Nurmagomedov says, it's a fight that appeals because both men have such completely different styles that are the weaknesses of the other.
"For UFC's lightweight division my style is very hard. Because I have pressure, I can take you down - body, single leg, double leg. I have very good conditioning. I know this. To stop me with my style my opponent needs to knock me out."
"Conor is a very good striking guy - everybody knows this. He has very good boxing, timing, his counter-punches are very good. But everybody knows I have a top control, wrestling, pressure. Why I need to stay stand up with him? I'm gonna take him down, I'm gonna slap him, make him nervous, talk with him, and make him give up."
With McGregor's first child coming next year, all indications are that the two-division champion will be sitting on the sidelines until May and when he returns no one knows what he'll do next. But if Nurmagomedov stands by his claim that he won't fight again unless it's for the belt, it appears Khabib will be waiting for him.
Out. Rashad Evans is out of his fight with Tim Kennedy at UFC 206 because of commission issues.
Murder. B.J. Penn will return to fight Yair Rodriguez at UFC Fight Night 103.
Confidence. C.M. Punk says he's "confident" he'll fight in the UFC again.
Definitely. Dan Henderson says Khabib Nurmagomedov would definitely "beat the piss out of" Conor McGregor.
Suspension. The NYSAC has suspended Kelvin Gastelum for six months for failing to show up to UFC 205 weigh ins.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Virtually identical. The Naked Gambler looks back at famous UFC draws in light of the results at UFC 205.
Robin going all in here.
Tommy back in a big one.
Julie Kedzie talking about WMMA.
Rough couple weeks.
For him as well.
Despite the latest news on not getting a license to fight in Toronto I am 100% healthy. I will not retire. Thank yuh for the support— Rashad Evans (@SugaRashadEvans) November 21, 2016
You are a champion. I appreciate the opportunity. Forever a fan. https://t.co/uXENCkEgcG— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) November 21, 2016
No. 1st he is a friend. 2nd I weigh 40 lbs more than him. 3rd I do not want another loss on my record. https://t.co/uqBpzd9Lg6— Tim Kennedy (@TimKennedyMMA) November 22, 2016
Anyways. Off to the gym to punch people in the face.— Stipe Miocic (@stipemiocicufc) November 21, 2016
Running the game but ain't shit changed!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) November 22, 2016
Artem you little daisy! pic.twitter.com/d6ruvaXLyf
BOOOOM! pic.twitter.com/2ku1g5pcA7— KarolinaKowalkiewicz (@KarolinaMMA) November 21, 2016
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2002: Tito Ortiz successfully defended his UFC light heavyweight title against Ken Shamrock at UFC 40. This was a banner event for Zuffa, marking the biggest pay-per-view ever for them up to this point, nearly doubling their previous efforts and garnering main stream media attention.
That's all folks. See you tomorrow.
If you find something you'd like to see in the Morning Report, just hit me up on Twitter @JedKMeshew and let me know about it. Also follow MMAFighting on Instagram and add us on Snapchat at MMA-Fighting because we post dope things and you should enjoy them.