According to Khabib Nurmagomedov, there was a time when no one wanted to face him inside the Octagon, accusing top fighters of only calling him out when he was injured.
That isn’t the case anymore now that he is the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Lightweight champion, as there has been a plethora of 155-pound combatants who have thrown their names in the hat to be “The Eagle’s” first title defense.
Former 155-pound champion Eddie Alvarez is another top contender who is champing at the bit to be the next man to attempt to hand Khabib his first-ever loss, saying if the promotion offered him a rematch against Dustin Poirier, a chance to settle his beef with Nate Diaz, or get revenge on Conor McGregor, he’d turn them all down in favor of getting some “Khabib Time.”
“The one I want the most out of all them is Khabib, and it has nothing to do with the title. I just think right now, timing wise, he’s the most valuable of all them fighters,” he revealed on a recent interview on The MMA Hour.
For Eddie, who is going on his fifteenth year as a fighter, it’s all about taking on the unknown, someone who is conceived as unbeatable.
“He’s undefeated so there is this mystique that he is unbeatable which excites me even more. I just need to fight somebody that I can get excited about. I’ve been fighting since I am 19 years old and I need something more than just here’s another bout, here’s another guy,” he added.
“There has to be something in it for me, something to be excited about. Something to wake up early for, go to sleep late and maybe have a little fear of losing to him. I need to feel that in order to take a fight and he can be that guy.”
Before a championship showdown between Eddie and Khabib sees the light of day, “The Underground King” has to sign a new contract with the promotion as he is on the last fight of his current deal.
And while Alvarez doesn’t want to test the free agent waters (again), he says he always leaves every option open when it comes to business.