Prior to the announcement that Conor McGregor & Eddie Alvarez would be squaring off in the main event of UFC 205 on November 12th for the UFC’s inaugural event at the Madison Square Garden, UFC President Dana White indicated in an interview that it was undefeated Dagestani fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov who would likely be getting the title shot against Eddie Alvarez.
Several days later however, there had been no announcement of Alvarez vs. Nurmagomedov headlining UFC 205, which prompted ‘The Eagle’ to release several photos of contracts he signed for fights with Alvarez at UFC 205 & UFC 206. Nurmagomedov accompanied the photos with a statement in which he stated that he was waiting on Alvarez to sign the bout agreements.
Shortly after, it was revealed that Alvarez vs. McGregor would headline the card, and that Khabib Nurmagomedov would be facing Michael Johnson on the card.
During a recent interview with MMAJunkie, Nurmagomedov spoke about the fight, saying:
“Michael Johnson is tough guy,” Nurmagomedov said. “I don’t think this fight is an easy fight. I think he has the best hands in the lightweight division. His movement is very good. He beat already (Edson) Barboza, he beat already Tony Ferguson, he knocked out Dustin Poirier. He’s a tough guy. I know my style for him is very bad. I know this. He has to move too much because I can catch him and grab him, take him down and submit him or make him tired then ground-and-pound and finish him. He understands this.
“Everybody understands I’m a strong wrestler and he’s a very fast boxer. For me, for fans, it’s a very interesting fight.”
After the fight was announced, Nurmagomedov stated that if he emerges from UFC 205 victorious, he wants a title shot, or he would make sure the UFC never hosted an event in Russia. While the threats likely didn’t sit too well with the UFC brass, Nurmagomedov appears to have softened his stance on the matter:
“I feel I deserve a title shot because this is not about my UFC career, this is about my whole career,” Nurmagomedov said. “Eight-and-a-half years I’ve gone undefeated. I am undefeated, and after Michael Johnson I hope UFC gives me a title shot. We’ll see.”