Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov (22-0) has skyrocketed through the UFC’s lightweight division, which many consider to be the toughest division in all of MMA. He’s 6-0 and has most recently defeated the 4th ranked Rafael Dos Anjos via unanimous decision at UFC on Fox 11. Since then Rafael rebounded to defeat former UFC Lightweight champion Benson Henderson via first round KO at UFC Fight Night 49 to add further legitimacy to Khabib’s victory.
Being number 2 means your 2 spots from the top of the heap but Nurmagomedov believes the man at the top is a paper champion and that his time on top will end soon. In an interview with MMAJunkie he called out the champion Anthony “Showtime” Pettis (17-2) and went on to berate Pettis’s flashy style and feels that he is scared.
“Everybody knows I deserve a title shot,” Nurmagomedov told MMAjunkie.
“I am an undefeated fighter who is 6-0 in UFC. In the (official UFC) rankings, I’m No. 2 after Gilbert Melendez. I think Anthony Pettis is scared. He’s never had a good wrestling opponent, now I’m a contender. I have very good wrestling, and Anthony Pettis has only the lucky punch. I think he understands this, and he doesn’t want this fight.”
Pettis is 4-0 in his last 4 and 3 of his wins have come by stoppage. He halted the UFC Bonus kingpin Joe Lauzon by headkick in the stanza at UFC 144, then defeated “The Cowboy” Donald Cerrone by a body kick at UFC on Fox 6. Then he relieved then Champion Benson “Smooth” Henderson of his UFC gold by way of first round armbar at UFC 164.
Those accolades don’t mean much to Khabib who pinpoints the lack of activity Pettis has had since winning the UFC 155 pound strap.
“He’s the champion, but he’s not a true champion,” Nurmagomedov said. “He hasn’t had a defense in one-and-a-half years. He has no defense of the belt. He won the belt, yes, but he’s a paper champion. I think he’s a paper champion. Everyone knows I am the true champion. The next fight, I deserve a title shot. This belt is mine. If UFC says I have a title shot, it will be very good for me. It’s my big dream.”
Khabib feels that Pettis likes to live the party boy lifestyle from what he portrays on social media. Then he puts his own resume against Showtime’s.
“Not many people go right into the UFC and win six fights, I’ve beat very tough guys. Gleison Tibau, Rafael Dos Anjos, Abel Trujillo, Pat Healy, Thiago Tavares – I beat very tough guys. I think I deserve it. Every one of my opponents is tough. I think if Anthony Pettis fights all those guys, he would lose. I look for Anthony Pettis at UFC 178, but I couldn’t find him,” Nurmagomedov said “I wanted to say, ‘Let’s go! I deserve my title shot. Why you shut up and not say my name?’ I follow his Instagram, and I see every time he parties, and I think he’s a playboy. All my life I’m training hard. I’m training in mountains, I’m wrestling with bears, and all my life I’m training.”
He calls out lack of title defenses, lack of training, a mundane record and then Khabib finally brings the nail to the coffin. Nurmagomedov reveals that he feels Pettis is scared.
“I’m not scared to fight against very good fighter. I’m not Anthony Pettis. I’m not scared. I like the zero in my record and I will keep it. I think I don’t lose. I’m going to punish Anthony Pettis and break his heart. I want my belt. I don’t mind fighting versus tough opponent. It’s not a problem. I like challenges. My job is to fight, and it doesn’t matter the opponent, I win the fight. My message for Pettis is, ‘Please don’t be scared,” Nurmagomedov said. “Everyone says Khabib is the next lightweight contender. Why you don’t listen? I know you want only striking guys, but my spirit, my top control and my aggression is no good for you. You’re scared. Next year, your belt is not your belt. Your belt is my belt.”