Top ranked lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov has been on a tear of the UFC’s lightweight division 8-0 since joining the promotion in 2012.
Unfortunately after defeating Rafael dos Anjos in 2014, Nurmagomedov was sidelined for the next two years with injuries. In early 2016, ‘The Eagle’ was set to make his highly anticipated return to the Octagon as he was slated to fight Tony Ferguson at ‘UFC on FOX: Tampa’. Unfortunately, Ferguson was forced out of the fight on short notice, and was replaced by Darrell Horcher. Ultimately, Nurmagomedov defeated Horcher via 2nd round TKO as he advanced to 23-0 over the course of his professional career. Following that, Nurmagomedov stepped into the Octagon against Michael Johnson for a highly anticipated lightweight showdown at UFC 205, where he picked up a dominant 3rd round submission win, complete with trash talk to UFC President Dana White as well as Johnson during the fight.
Now, with Tony Ferguson opting to sit on the sidelines in hopes of receiving more money from the promotion, and Conor McGregor currently on a brief hiatus as he prepares for the upcoming birth of his firstborn child, Nurmagomedov is left to plan for his takeover of the lightweight division.
He spoke to MMAMania to unveil his plans:
“I want to beat Tony Ferguson, take interim bullshit belt, and after fight with Conor for the real belt,” he said. “I am famous in Russia and, we have to say, Conor is famous in Russia, too. If UFC make a promotional tour all over the world, like Rio de Janeiro, Las Vegas, New York, Toronto, London, Moscow, Tokyo, everywhere, you know, make this PR program. And, after this, UFC give me and Conor three months for preparing and make this 80,000 arena in Moscow – I think 100 percent we can sell all these tickets.”
While people have accused ‘The Eagle’ of ducking Ferguson, Nurmagomedov recently offered ‘El Cucuy’ $200,000 of his own money to fight, however Ferguson turned the offer down.