Khabib Nurmagomedov has had trouble finding a dance partner to tango with him inside the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Octagon, as fighter after fighter has had one reason or another to turn down a fight against the fearsome Russian.
Whether its former Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez saying the timing isn't right or Nate Diaz telling the Zuffa higher ups to compensate him accordingly before signing on the dotted line, Nurmagomedov it seems, is one fighter opponents have to think twice about facing.
And while Khabib appreciates UFC president Dana White's comments that no one wants to face him, "The Eagle" doesn't necessarily feel that every lightweight on the UFC roster shares that sentiment. He just feels losing to someone like him -- a man who doesn't have a huge name in America, yet -- is a big risk to take.
Nevertheless, Khabib is adamant that if Diaz and Gilbert want to talk the talk, they have to walk the walk about wanting to fight the best. And if they can't get things straight with the UFC higher ups, Khabib is more than willing to take them on both -- at once -- to make it easier for them.
"The Eagle" broke it down (via his translator and manager Sam Kardan) during his recent appearance on The MMA Hour.
"I understand they need to work things out financially, I understand it's going to be a tough fight for them. I'm pretty much of a no name or don't have a big a name as them in the U.S. as they do so a loss to someone like myself will definitely set them back. I get that, I get the business aspect of it, but I think they should fight. If they say they are willing to fight the best they should fight the best. If they want, I'll take them both at once in the cage."
When he does find a willing foe, Khabib seems to think they have to work their way up to face him. As was the case when Michael Johnson offered up his services to step into the Octagon against the Russian.
For Khabib, it's not that he doesn't feel Johnson isn't a good fighter, he just doesn't feel he will be a good challenge for him, given his past track record.
"My goal is to fight Melendez, T.J. Grant or Diaz because I think they will be much of a challenge for me in a fight. Michael Johnson, if one of those three doesn't accept to fight me, then I will have to fight him. He has lost in the UFC by decision, by submission; so, I don't think he's posing much of a challenge at this point."
The undefeated Russian (21-0, 5-0 UFC), was last seen defeating Pat Healy at UFC 165 last September and is eager to step back into the cage. And from the looks of it, he may have to end up accepting a bout against "The Menace."
As a parting shot, Khabib made a promise to Nate and Gilbert that if either of them accept the fight, he would not him them hard and would instead just wrestle them.
You're move, "Skrap Pack."