Khabib Nurmagomedov has only been a champion for a few days, and the wolves are already out and chomping at the bit.
Nurmagomedov won the UFC lightweight championship at UFC 223 on Saturday evening with a unanimous decision victory over last-minute replacement Al Iaquinta. Though the win was dominant, with Nurmagomedov taking every round on all three judges’ scorecards and securing two 10-8 rounds in the process, many were unimpressed with the performance of ‘The Eagle’ and saw openings for other elite lightweights to exploit when taking on the undefeated champion. Now you can count Eddie Alvarez among them.
The day after Nurmagomedov’s win, the former lightweight champion took to Instagram Live where he responded to the new lightweight champion, saying he is the guy to hand Nurmagomedov his first loss.
“I am Khabib’s Kryptonite,” said Alvarez. “You all know it. It’s the elephant in the room. I’m the guy in the lightweight division, the only guy, that can beat Khabib. Everyone knows it. He can run to Georges [St-Pierre] or run to Conor [McGregor] or run to whoever, I’m the guy. I’m the guy to put that ‘1’ in that loss column.”
Last week when Tony Ferguson unexpectedly pulled out of his planned fight with Nurmagomedov at UFC 223, Alvarez was briefly approached about stepping in to replace him but “The Underground King” was too heavy to make the 155-pound weight limit with only 6 days’ notice. Instead, the bout went to featherweight champion Max Holloway who was deemed medically unfit to compete on weigh-in day, resulting in Iaquinta’s last-minute promotion to lightweight title challenger.
It was an unfortunate set of circumstances for Alvarez, who has a history of staging major upsets and unseating unbeaten fighters, having become the first fighter in history to defeat highly touted lightweight Justin Gaethje when the two fought last year. Still, he plans on making it happen eventually.
“I will be gunning for the lightweight championship belt,” said Alvarez. “Khabib’s gonna take some time off, I believe, for prayer and reflection. I don’t know where that leaves me but I’m gonna sit down with the UFC and let them know, I’m the guy to dethrone this man, I’m the guy to give him his loss. I beat champions, that’s what I thrive on. I love belts. I love collecting them. I love beating champions.”
Since winning the belt, Nurmagomedov has mentioned St-Pierre or McGregor as the two fighters he would most like to fight next, though St-Pierre is seemingly uninterested and McGregor currently finds himself embroiled in legal troubles that could sideline him for an extended period. Add in the fact that Nurmagomedov’s greatest rival, Ferguson, is having knee surgery and likely out for a while, Alvarez finds himself on the short list of potential opponents for “The Eagle.” That’s what Alvarez is hoping for at least, and if it does happen, he plans on making Nurmagomedov’s title reign as short as his own was.
“Khabib is king - temporarily,” said Alvarez. “Everything is temporary. . . Let ‘The Underground King’ do it one more time and get that belt back.”
Champ. Video: Khabib Nurmagomedov receives hero’s welcome in return to Dagestan.
Close. Max Holloway says he came within ‘striking distance’ of making weight for UFC 223.
Chaos. NYSAC executive director Kim Sumbler opens up about chaotic UFC 223 weigh-ins.
Road to the Octagon.
Buffer calling it how he sees it.
Al wants a rematch.
Last week in a nutshell.
The MMA Hour. Interviews with Rose, Raging Al, Max, Zabit, Colby, and more.
Anik & Florian. Recapping last week’s craziness and UFC 223.
The Co-Main Event. Discussing the wildness that was last week in MMA.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Abdulmanap looks pleased. I think.
A hero’s welcome.
Having a second surgery on my hand today. I appreciate the support of all of my fans and I’ll be back in the Octagon in no time. The comeback is always greater than the setback! pic.twitter.com/YaUAof2XOC— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) April 9, 2018
Earlier today in NY, @chrisweidman had successful hand surgery. Doctors were pleased and hopeful for a 2/3 month recovery, he said. (Photo provided by Weidman below of the aftermath.) pic.twitter.com/MlQ4VsNnFV— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) April 10, 2018
Seize the carp.
Shoot for the moon.
That is a bold statement.
Man, Bernie Mac was great.
You, dear reader, could do better.
Pannie Kianzad (8-3) vs. Bianca Diamondi (7-2); Invicta FC 29, May 4.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2010: Anderson Silva put forth one of his most puzzling efforts, winning a tepid decision over Demian Maia at UFC 112 to retain his middleweight title. Also at this event, Frankie Edgar became the UFC lightweight champion, when a bad decision against B.J. Penn.
Take it easy and see y’all tomorrow.
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