Rafael Fiziev jokingly called out tennis star Rafael Nadal following his impressive win over the always tough Rafael dos Anjos at UFC Vegas 58 last night (July 9, 2022) in Las Vegas, Nevada. But, he had a more serious callout saved for the post-fight press conference (watch it here).
“I want to fight with [Justin] Gaethje,” Fiziev declared. “Nadal is funny and all this stuff, going to fight with tennis, no problem. But, Gaethje ... you want a fight? What camera I need to [say]? Gaethje, if you want a fight, you yellow guy, one more yellow guy with yellow hairs. We need to know who is the best. That’s good match for you and me.
“If you’re ready, if you’re don’t scared, if you don’t take s—t, let’s go,” he continued.
“I think ... I don’t know, who am I, I am nothing in this sport,” he said. “But, I think it’s good for mix now, something Top 5. If I fight with someone who is from Top 5 ... We need to mix it because Top 5 is long time same Top 5, same people, same faces, you know? And we need to make some mix. New blood. New broken nose.”
The Lightweight Top 5 is starting to look a bit stagnant with Dustin Poirier, Justin Gaethje and Michael Chandler all feeling pretty entrenched. Fiziev is relatively new blood, and his kickboxing style would make for some great fights with all the above names.
With the win over dos Anjos, Fiziev is now 12-1 (6-1 UFC) and on a six-fight win streak. The names on his record are solid, too: Marc Diakiese, Renato Moicano, Bobby Green and now dos Anjos.
On the other side of the callout, Gaethje is 2-2 since the start of 2020 with losses to Khabib Nurmagomeodv and Charles Oliveira. On the winning side, he became the first person to stop Tony Ferguson with strikes, snapping “El Cucuy’s” 12-fight win streak. Many believe Ferguson hasn’t been the same since.
An entertaining beating of Michael Chandler followed, and we’d love to see what Gaethje and Fiziev could do together.
Gaethje could be the perfect opponent. “The Highlight” hasn’t fought since his May 2022 submission loss to Charles Oliveira, and he’s in no rush to get a fight booked. He’s a few days away from having surgery to fix a broken nose he’s had since his college wrestling days.
As Fiziev said, new blood, new broken nose.
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