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Rafael dos Anjos shares clip of grappling exchange with Khabib Nurmagomedov: ‘No one got closer to putting the champ out’

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Gallery Photo: UFC on FOX 11 photos
Rafael dos Anjos grapples with Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC on FOX 11 in Orlando, Fla., on April 19, 2014
Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Former UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos remembers well his fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov.

It was April 19, 2014, at Amway Center in Orlando, Fla. At the time, dos Anjos was on a five-fight win streak and his eventual loss to Nurmagomedov would be dos Anjos’s only loss for over three years. Nurmagomedov was 21-0 with five wins to begin his UFC career and already being pegged as a future star at 155 pounds.

The result was a convincing unanimous decision win for Nurmagomedov. He repeatedly took dos Anjos down and controlled the action on the ground to continue his unbeaten run that extends to this day.

On Thursday, dos Anjos shared a clip from that fight in which he claims that he was close to submitting Nurmagomedov with a guillotine choke:

Dos Anjos’ post was apparently motivated by Nurmagomedov’s recent statement in which he dismissed potential rematches with Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier, with dos Anjos suggesting that he’ll be ready if Nurmagomedov ever wants to give him another shot.

“Khabib said he is not interested in fighting Conor or Dustin as he choked both of them,” Dos Anjos wrote. “He did not choke me. As a matter of fact I got him snoring until a slipping rib saved him from [sleeping emoji]. He beat me fair and square, but no one got closer to putting the champ out.

“My plan was to beat his brother and go after that neck again. That plan fell apart for reasons beyond my control, but I will keep sharpening my tools just in case he decides to come back and chooses me.”

Dos Anjos was scheduled to fight Nurmagomedov’s close friend and training partner Islam Makhachev on two previous occasions, but dos Anjos was forced out of the first meeting at UFC 254 due to a positive COVID-19 test and Makhachev withdrew from the second meeting on Nov. 14 due to a staph infection. Paul Felder replaced Makhachev and dos Anjos defeated Felder by split decision.

Nurmagomedov most recently fought at UFC 254, where he successfully defended his lightweight title and remained undefeated with a second-round submission of Justin Gaethje, then promptly announced his retirement. His competitive status is still under dispute as Dana White has said he is still talking to Nurmagomedov about possibly fighting again and Nurmagomedov has continued to field questions about his future.