Anthony Pettis will throw down with Rafael dos Anjos at UFC 185, and while the latter is unquestionably really, really good, it seems like a lot of folks are already looking past this bout to another man. Yes, Mr. Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Case in point, Pettis continues to filed questions about “The Eagle”, despite the fact he has yet to fight dos Anjos, and Nurmagomedov is booked to face Donald Cerrone on May 23rd. There are several reasons for this, including the fact that Nurmagomedov is undefeated, has already beaten dos Anjos, and could be the best grappler in the sport right now. It’s also because the Dagestani fighter has been campaigning pretty, pretty hard for a crack at Pettis, as the lightweight champ noted this week (quotes via MMA Junkie.com):
“He’s talking a lot,” Pettis said, when asked about the Sambo master. “That’s why I know who he is.”
“I already beat Cerrone, so I’m looking forward to fighting Khabib,” Pettis said. “He’s been talking. Cerrone already talked. I settled that beef. Now I’ve got to settle this one.”
Yes, if you recall, Cerrone and Pettis had quite the beef going before the fought in January, 2013, and “Showtime” put it to rest with a punishing liver kick. Since then, Cerrone has gone 8-1, and if he beats Nurmagomedov at UFC 187, he could very well lock up a rematch (the only man to defeat him during that time is dos Anjos).
Now, to be fair, it’s not like Pettis has been dismissing dos Anjos as a legit threat, and just talking about Nurmagomedov. For example, in the aforementioned story, Pettis relayed that in his opinion, dos Anjos is “probably the most dangerous” 155’er, aside from “Khabib.”
UFC 185 will be hosted by the American Airlines Center in Dallas on Saturday night, and will also feature strawweight champ Carla Esparza taking on Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
Other main card bouts include Johny Hendricks vs. Matt Brown, Roy Nelson vs. Alistair Overeem and Sam Stout vs. Ross Pearson.