Top Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov is a perfect 21-0 and has a punishing ground game, resulting in dominant wins over 155-pound veterans like Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares and Pat Healy, among others.
It's understandable if fighters with something to lose, like a spot in the division title chase, are not in a big hurry to sign on the dotted line. That includes former lightweight number one contender Nate Diaz, who wants to have a bigger piece of the pie for such a dangerous fight (find out why here).
But if he's not going to fly with "The Eagle," then he needs to step aside to make room for the fighters who will.
Including The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) 12 runner-up Michael Johnson (14-8), who got back into the thick of things with back-to-back wins over Joe Lauzon at UFC Fight Night 26 and the aforementioned Tibau at UFC 168.
"The Menace" tweets:
Michael Johnson (@FollowTheMenace) January 12, 2014
He's not the only one.
Also throwing his name into the hat is former World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) champion Jamie Varner, who knows a thing or two about spoiling the rise of blue-chip prospects. "C-4" exploded against Edson Barboza back in May 2012 and wouldn't mind having a repeat performance against the Russian.
Assuming he gets past Abel Trujillo at UFC 169.
I keep reading articles about people not fighting Khabib I feel bad for the guy. After my fight, I have no prob fighting him 4 weeks later!— Jamie Varner (@jamievarner) January 12, 2014
Plenty of opponents to go around, right?
Well, maybe not. From Nurmagomedov's perspective, his record -- coupled with his dismantling of his veteran opponents -- may warrant someone in the top five of his division and at the minimum, top 10. "The Eagle" is currently sitting pretty at No. 7 on the official UFC rankings (see them here) while Johnson is No. 14 and Varner is currently unranked.
So the question now is, does he take any fight he can just to stay busy, or hold out for a bigger "name?" Perhaps the winner of Ben Henderson vs. Josh Thomson at UFC on FOX 10?