Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight No. 1 contender Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to the Octagon after nearly two years on the sidelines, trashing late-replacement Darrell Horcher at the UFC on FOX 19 event earlier this month on FOX.
Following the win, "The Eagle" was calling for another bout against reigning division kingpin Rafael dos Anjos, a fight he won -- rather convincingly -- back in early 2014. But the Brazilian was not impressed with what he saw on FOX and wants Nurmagomedov to know his place among the 155-pound elite.
From MMA Fighting:
"I was not even a little impressed. He fought a guy who has a full-time job and took the fight on a week's notice. After the first minute, with all due respect, (Horcher) looked pink, completely out of shape, and (Khabib) still needed almost two rounds to finish the fight. Congratulations to the opponent that accepted the fight, but there's no way... When I lost to Khabib, I was ranked No. 5 or 6 and many things have changed since. He beat a guy who has a full-time job, and I beat Jason High, Ben Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone. He's saying he needs some rest because he trained for three months for this fight? Wait a minute... Forty days after fighting him, I fought Jason High. Two months later, I fought Ben Henderson. When you want the belt, you have to work for it. I think that after a performance like that, he should at least fight Tony Ferguson in May. Now he beats a guy who has a full-time job and thinks he deserves a title shot? In my opinion, he does not. He has to work more. He can't live the rest of his life saying ‘oh, I beat Rafael, I'm the champion without the belt'. He has to work."
Nurmagomedov will not return to UFC until September for religious reasons.
In his absence, Dos Anjos will move on to defend his lightweight crown against former Bellator MMA champion Eddie Alvarez. They'll do the deed in the main event of the UFC Fight Night 90 extravaganza this July on UFC Fight Pass (full schedule here).
It all depends on who comes out victorious in "Sin City."