UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov is stretching the limits of what it takes to get a title shot in the UFC. There are fighters upset about not getting a title shot on a one-fight win streak, like former champions T.J. Dillashaw and Jose Aldo. Demian Maia is on a six-fight wins streak and is adamant about a shot. Max Holloway is on a nine-fight win streak. Khabib Nurmagomedov is on a 24-fight win streak.
He entered the UFC with a perfect 16-0 record, the last eight inside the distance. That was in January of 2012.
Since then, he has gone a perfect 8-0. At UFC 205 on Saturday, Nurmagomedov beat Michael Johnson ruthlessly, and in between rounds was berating UFC president Dana White, who was seated Octagon-side, for a title shot.
“I talked between every round with Dana,” explained Nurmagomedov. “I said, ‘hey, after this fight, don’t send me your bulls*** fight contract. Send me real contract. I want to beat your son.’ And he talked about, ‘oh, please finish your fight.’”
Conor McGregor beat Eddie Alvarez on the same night, taking the lightweight title. What McGregor does next is not known with any certainty. His first child will be born in May, and he wants some time off for that. He has to give up either the featherweight or the lightweight belt, but wants to hold and defend both of them. And the fight he is rumored to really want is a boxing match with Floyd Mayweather Jr.
Where that leaves Nurmagomedov, who is the #1 lightweight contender is not known. However, the Russian fighter gave the UFC an ultimatum.
“I want to fight for [the] UFC title for respect, but if I don’t get my title shot next I have different plan, I won’t be fighting in UFC,” he wrote, directing the message to White.
Nurmagomedov doesn’t even care about the money, and reportedly refused a $100,000 step aside offer recently.
“I know money is very important for life, but I have money. I never use MMA to make money,” he said last month. “MMA for me is about my life, about my blood and about everything I do all my life. Money, I can make money with other stuff. I have money. I have everything. I need the belt.”