It took Mairbek Taisumov a long, long time to find a willing dance partner for his next fight. Given that he’s knocked all five of his most recent opponents out, the difficulty he’s had finding a willing opponent definitely makes some sense. He just doesn’t seem like a fun guy to fight.
Eventually, of course, Taisumov was able to find a willing adversary in the absurdly tough, 15th-ranked UFC lightweight Evan Dunham, who he’ll battle at UFC 223 on April 7.
This fight with Dunham is now at the forefront of Taisumov’s focus. That said, the Russian-born Austrian has two particular opponents in mind, should he topple Dunham at UFC 223. There are also two fighters who no longer interest him, as they’ve both recently turned him down.
“I have the power to knock anybody out in this division,” Taisumov said on the latest episode of BJ Penn Radio. “Now I don’t think about [Donald] Cerrone, I don’t think about [Anthony] Pettis, because I lose all my respect to these guys. Now, I have a fight now in Brooklyn against Dunham. I’m sure I will smash Dunham and then we will see who is next.”
“All my respect to Dunham, but I will give him a hard fight on this day,” Taisumov continued.
“Look, if I beat Dunham, I will be in the top-15. After my last fight, I was in the top 15, yeah? But now they kick me out from the top 15. Doesn’t matter, I don’t think so much about rankings. I need the tough guys, yeah? Like [Eddie] Alvarez, [Dustin] Poirier, I need these guys. This is just a fight that I need.”
If Mairbek Taisumov gets by Evan Dunham in Brooklyn, do you want to see him fight Eddie Alvarez or Dustin Poirier next? Join the conversation in the comments section!
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 1/28/2018.