23-0 #1 lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov appeared recently on the Five Rounds podcast with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto and made the case for his title shot vs. Eddie Alvarez.
#1 contenders want title fights. Champions want money. Those two wants are very often opposed.
The champ gets a cut of the PPV, and wants to get as many of those cuts as he or she can, vs. people that will sell PPVs. The #1 contender is often the worst of all worlds – he or she threatens to end the PPV money train, and won’t put a lot of asses in seats.
Eddie Alvarez is a smart man, and not a dominant champion – three of his last five fights have been split decisions. His cut of the PPV window is not likely to last as long as say Demetrious Johnson’s has. So he wisely wants to make full use of the window he has.
So Eddie Alvarez wants to fight Conor McGregor, who headlined three of the four largest PPVs of all time. Who, after all, does not like red panty nights?
Still ‘The Eagle’ is not impressed.
“Conor’s stuck two divisions, featherweight and lightweight,” said Nurmagomedov as transcribed by Jed Meshew for MMA Fighting. “Now Conor makes the decisions…
“I want to fight at 205 in New York, maybe fight with Eddie Alvarez. I love this fight. I want to fight for the belt. All fans, coaches, fighters, analytics, everybody agrees and knows who deserves this title shot. I deserve it. I am No. 1 ranked. Why UFC put me on No. 1 ranking if they don’t want to give me title shot? Why do they make rankings?
“Conor McGregor fights in the UFC in a lighter division and the UFC wants to give him title shot? I think this is No. 1 bulls***. They cannot give him a title shot because he’s never fought with the top guys, like top five, top 10 in the lightweight division, and they want to give him title shot?”
“I think at 170 pounds a lot of people can kill both [McGregor and Diaz]. This is my opinion. If we look at the lightweight division, I think a lot of guys can beat these guys. Edson Barboza, Tony Ferguson, Dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, a lot of guys can beat those guys. I think this is big money fight, and that’s it. I don’t think it’s a high-level fight.
“For me it’s very interesting, how will Conor look when he comes to lightweight division? For me, I think his weight is 155 , but if he wants to fight for the title he needs to take somebody like a top five fighter. If he beats him, he deserves title shot, I agree. But now if the UFC gives him a title shot, I don’t agree because I am the next in the line.”
“I’m still focused. If the UFC gives him a title shot, it’s okay. I’m a little bit not happy and at the same time I’m a little bit happy, because if the UFC gives him a title shot and he becomes lightweight champion and I win somebody like a top five guy, then we have to fight and he has to fight with me…
“Michael Johnson already beat Edson Barboza, he already beat Dustin Poirier, he already beat Tony Ferguson. I think Michael is good if I don’t fight for the title. Michael, Edson, I like Michael Chiesa but he’s still injured, somebody. I don’t care who is my opponent. If UFC don’t give me a title shot, I want to fight with the best. I don’t care who.”