Khabib Nurmagomedov has made one thing abundantly clear: his next fight will be for the UFC lightweight championship.
The undefeated Dagestani fighter and No. 1 lightweight contender has been chasing down a title for years now, but injuries have intervened prevent him from getting the elusive title shot. Recently, with the booking of Tony Ferguson (the presumptive foil for Nurmagomedov should he not receive a title shot) against Rafael dos Anjos, all signs pointed towards a Nurmagomedov title shot against reigning champion Eddie Alvarez. However, yesterday a rumor began circulating that Nurmagomedov would be fighting Edson Barboza at UFC 204. In response, Nurmagomedov took to Twitter to refute the rumor and lay down a threat to the lightweight champion.
Ever since his victory over Rafael dos Anjos in April of 2014, Nurmagomedov has been angling for a shot at the title. Now that he is back from a long injury hiatus, Nurmagomedov believes he should finally get his chance to fight for the belt. Unfortunately for Khabib, Alvarez shows no interest in taking a fight with him. Instead Alvarez is pursuing a fight with the winner of this weekend's Nate Diaz vs. Conor McGregor rematch.
In light of this, and perhaps in reaction to yet another title shot seemingly slipping through his fingers, Nurmagomedov then proceeded to engage in an impromptu Twitter Q & A where he continuously went in on Alvarez, calling him "chicken" and saying the champion turned down a fight with him at the UFC on Fox 21 card and then again in October.
A real champion fight anybody any time anywhere https://t.co/o6iBFMZHJJ— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
He was offered to fight me end of August in Canada, again in October. He 100% ducking https://t.co/pF81nFiNRY— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
Yes Dana ask me to fight him in Canada main event and he turn it down https://t.co/5X035KclYv— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
Both. #1 he chicken #2 he doesn't believe he can beat me https://t.co/9XtuDPeCrX— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
He's running as far as he can https://t.co/pgZFSvLn5S— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
For his part, Alvarez has made it clear that, like so many fighters these days, he wants the biggest money fights and that is why he is targeting the winner of the Diaz-McGregor fight. Nurmagomedov disagrees, saying that Alvarez just wants an "easy fight" and saying his victory over dos Anjos was "a lucky punch." Nurmagomedov then attempted to address Alvarez's desire for a big fight by comparing Twitter followers and declaring that "2.5 million Russians will come watch me decimate the fat face."
Nate is 11-9 in the ufc last I remember he was knock out by josh Thompson by head kick https://t.co/pLyzTcFvIa— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
This is the new style in UFC all the champion want easy fights https://t.co/MPHhZmSMj2— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
Lucky punch happen sometime, why you think he's ducking me? https://t.co/62PHxX8MR8— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
2.5 million Russians will come watch me decimate the fat face https://t.co/0qXuCFqOu9— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
While Nurmagomedov hasn't proven himself to be a major draw yet, he also hasn't been afforded an opportunity to do so; he has never headlined or been the co-main event of any UFC card. He does however, have a significantly larger social media following than Alvarez. Aside from having more Twitter followers, Nurmagomedov has 882,000 Instagram followers to Alvarez's 50 thousand. He also has some of the most ardent fans in the sport; they constantly bombard any post from Dana White's with "#khabibtime." While none of that is proof that Nurmagomedov will draw eyeballs, it certainly is promising, and may (more than anything else) help Khabib finally gets his title shot.
As for how that hypothetical fight will go, Khabib was emphatic.
I will draw the map of Russia on his fat face and rearrange it https://t.co/D5qJLiOQX5— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
Everybody know he tired after 1 round I finish him in second round https://t.co/015ZLKLA2L— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) August 16, 2016
Whether Nurmagomedov will actually get the opportunity to back up his talk, only time will tell.
New GSP. Conor McGregor is unimpressed by Jose Aldo and Eddie Alvarez calling him out.
Loopholes. Dana White suggests that Jon Jones may not have knowingly taken the banned substance that caused him to fail his drug test.
Contender. Cody Garbrandt says Dominick Cruz will lose "everything" if they fight.
Bombs. Conor McGregor says UFC 200 "bombed" without him on the card.
Please no. Dana White wants to see MMA in the Olympics.
EXTRA CREDIT READING
Breakdown. Patrick Wyman of Bleacher Report breaks down Daiz-McGregor 2 in depth.
Marc and Shaun did a Facebook Live discussion last night as 202 week begins in earnest.
2 in a row for Tommy.
Dana with on Cowherd's show today with some guy who isn't Cowherd.
Love that a couple of them actually picked Diaz.
Daily Conor video update.
Yes, let's do this.
Usada woke me up to piss in a cup at 6am this morning. Just hope they are testing Hendo the same as me!— michael (@bisping) August 16, 2016
Why 6am though? Come on usada!
If UFC PED testing is independent, why does Dana have any information about Jones' status?https://t.co/Xx7WSotvi6— Michael David Smith (@MichaelDavSmith) August 16, 2016
DC reacting to the JBJ news.
Why would I sue USADA. Jon did take something. Just something different than originally thoughthttps://t.co/bi3Miys5uC— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 16, 2016
I'm fighting winner of glover vs rumble. Don't care how his plays out. https://t.co/PvELdtG3kl— Daniel Cormier (@dc_mma) August 16, 2016
Nice to see.
Thank you @ufc for reaching out and offering to look into helping me get the tumor evaluated.— Leslie Smith (@LeslieSmith_GF) August 16, 2016
Remember when he was a welterweight? That is still insane to think of.
Does this mean he has a fight lined up?
With a broken hart I have to say that I had to pull out of the fight sept 3 in #Hamburg #Germany my team and I have tried everything in our power to still make it to the fight, but the injury I suffered made it impossible for me to be the best me. I wanna sent my apologize to my opponent @ashleemma who just like me wanted to give the fans one hell of a fight!! Have fun in there lady and kick ass!! I'm sorry to all my fans and everybody who have supported me. Everybody knows the fighter in me won't quit! I will be back, stronger, faster than ever before!! the "Ironlady" will be back @ufc @ufceurope @suckerpunchent @duanemma @dutchmuaythai @boosterfightgear @sneakerdistrict @peppermango_rozengracht #ufc #ufcfighter #netherlands #dutchpride #mma #wmma #utrecht #fighter #nevergiveup "Die with memories,not dreams"
Gabi Garcia (2-0-0) vs. Destanie Yarbrough (1-0-0); Rizin 2, September 25.
Rena Kubota (1-0-0) vs. Miyu Yamamoto (0-0-0); Rizin 2, September 25.
Kanako Murata (3-0-0) vs. Kyra Batara (5-3-0); Rizin 2, September 25.
Steven Peterson (14-4-0) vs. Mark De La Rosa (7-0-0); Legacy FC 61, October 14.
Andre Harrison (13-0-0) vs. Alexandre Bezerra (18-4-0); Titan FC 41, September 9.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2006: Diego Sanchez beat Karo Parisyan in the main event of UFC Fight Night 6, the 2006 Fight of the Year. Also at this event, Martin Kampmann made his UFC debut, submitting Crafton Wallace with a rear-naked choke.
2013: Chael Sonnen recorded the (as of now) final win of his MMA career when he submitted Mauricio Rua with a guillotine choke in the main event of UFC Fight Night 26. This event also saw the last time Conor McGregor would be on the undercard when he defeated Max Holloway by unanimous decision.
I highly recommend you check out Khabib's Twitter timeline. He has some other fantastic responses that didn't make the lede. Khabib is one of the best trash talkers in the game. Diaz style, not bombastic like Chael. Just a hard man saying stuff and genuinely not caring.
Anyway, yesterday we learned that the M.Rmy is rolling with Diaz over McGregor. Let's keep the UFC 202 train rolling with who will win the co-main event?
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