In Crowded Lightweight Class, Khabib Nurmagomedov Says He Is Next In Line For A Title Shot

We know that Anthony Pettis will defend his title against Gilbert Melendez in December. What we don’t know is too much after that.

The UFC’s lightweight division is jammed and figuring out who is next in line for a title shot is like putting together one of the most complicated jigsaw puzzles in the world.

Some believe it should be the winner of the Eddie Alvarez and Donald Cerrone tilt at UFC 178. Others think that Rafael dos Anjos deserves the next shot after beating former champion Benson Henderson and has gone 7-1 since 2012.

If you ask Khabib Nurmagomedov, he is the only choice. The Dagestani fighter was booked in a match against Cerrone but injured his knee and had to withdraw. The undefeated fighter hasn’t been challenged to this point and was the last man to beat the aforementioned dos Anjos.

“The Eagle” appeared on Monday’s The MMA Hour to discuss it.

“I think I am the No. 1 contender, after Gilbert Melendez,” Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani. “I know Melendez is a very good guy, he was the Strikeforce champion, the UFC gave him a shot. After he beat Diego Sanchez, and Diego Sanchez is not top 15…I think it’s no good, I think I’m the No. 1 contender. I am undefeated, 6-0 [in the UFC], 22-0 [overall]. I want after the next fight to have a title shot.”

The fighter event went on to suggest that Pettis is intentionally ducking him.

“I think he [doesn’t] want this fight,” he said. “I am no good for his style. My pressure, my wrestling, my top control, it’s no good for him. He said he wants to fight Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz lose many times in the UFC, and I am undefeated. I am the next contender. But he’s not saying ‘Khabib is good, Khabib is undefeated, Khabib is 6-0,’ he’s not saying nothing. I think he [doesn’t] want this fight.”

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