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Magomed Ankalaev eyes Shogun Rua, Anthony Smith fights after knockout performance at UFC 254

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UFC 254: Ankalaev v Cutelaba Photo by Josh Hedges/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images

After putting the Ion Cutelaba drama behind him via devastating knockout at UFC 254 (recap), Magomed Ankalaev is looking for bigger challenges moving forward. Following his $50,000 bonus-winning finish of “The Hulk,” Ankalaev wasn’t shy in dropping a few names as his next potential challenge.

“I’d love to fight a Top 5 fighter, but it would be interesting, and I would prefer to fight ‘Shogun’ Rua or Anthony Smith, but other than that, anyone in the Top 5,” Ankaleav said during the post-fight presser (via Sherdog).

Rua is 5-1-1 in his last seven bouts and was last seen defeating Antonio Rogerio Nogueira for the third time at UFC Fight Island 3 this past July. Smith, meanwhile, is looking to snap his two-fight skid when he takes on Devin Clark on Nov. 28,2020.

For now, Ankalaev — winner of five straight — will take some much-needed time off after going through a rigorous six-month training camp because of the constant cancelation and rescheduling of his bout against Cutelaba.

“I feel great, now I can finally sleep well. It was a six month camp, so I did a really, really good job in the six months and today I proved it. I wanted to catch him, I wanted to finish with a counter and I finished with a counter. I think everybody in my division was watching this fight. I’m going after the top fighters, so I hope they’re waiting for me.”

If neither Rua nor Smith are available for Ankaleav when he decides to return, perhaps he can look here for another option.