TAMPA -- After a two-year lay off, Khabib Nurmagomedov is ready to earn a title shot over the "bum" UFC lightweight contenders.
The undefeated lightweight, who last competed at UFC on Fox 11 where he defeated current UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos, will make his long-awaited return to the Octagon this Saturday at UFC on FOX 19.
Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet top contender Tony Ferguson in the main event of the card but was bumped down a few spots after Ferguson pulled out of the fight due to an injury. That fight, between two top contenders with the longest wining streaks in the top-15 of the UFC lightweight division, was likely to determine who would be challenging for UFC gold.
Now, "The ‘Eagle" will be facing Darrell Horcher, an unranked UFC newcomer. Despite his new opponent's ranking in the division, Nurmagomedov still believes he should get the next crack at the UFC lightweight belt.
"I never lost a round my whole career," Nurmagomedov told the media on Thursday at the UFC on FOX 19 open workouts. "I beat the current lightweight champion. I hope these guys give me a title shot. This is not my problem that I have Darrel Horcher. I asked Cowboy, I asked Eddie Alvarez, I asked Tony Ferguson, and nobody came. This is not my problem.
"I'm undefeated all my life. Eddie Alvarez loses all the time, ‘Cowboy' loses, Tony Ferguson loses. UFC needs somebody different. Somebody new, new level, new generation. I hope the UFC gives me a title shot after this fight because a lot of people agree with me. A lot of fans agree with me. I'm undefeated. All these bums lose all the time. Nate Diaz has lost 10 times, McGregor has lost, Tony Ferguson has lost, Eddie Alvarez, Cowboy, everybody has lost. I am undefeated. UFC needs to give me a title shot."
When asked who he wanted to fight after his bout with Horcher in case he wouldn't get a title shot, Nurmagomedov made it clear that he doesn't care about fighting a specific fighter, he just wants the title shot.
"I don't care about fighting anyone," Nurmagomedov said. "If you ask about Rafael dos Anjos, I finished that business, I finished that business two years ago. I beat him. Nobody had questions. Now, if he has the belt, I want to fight with him no problem. RDA or anyone, I have to fight for the title after this fight."
With plenty of talk about the UFC lightweight title, it may seem that Nurmagomedov is looking over the challenge he was ahead, Horcher. However, the Dagestan native will not be making that mistake come Saturday night.
"I don't want o underestimate this guy because that'd be a big mistake," explained Nurmagomedov. "He has a hard left punch, you know. I want to say thank you to this guy because he took this fight two weeks before the fight. I want to respect this guy, but when the cage closes, I have only one plan. I want to dominate him. This is my business. This is what I do all my life."