The lightweights are scheduled to fight on May 23rd at UFC 187, and the winner will almost certainly advance to face the newly crowned champ, Rafael dos Anjos, later this year. In recent months, Nurmagomedov has been extremely vocal about expressing his opinion, and that continued on the latest edition of “The MMA Hour” (quote via MMA Fighting.com):
“You know why he’s a little bit nervous?” Nurmagomedov added. “Because I say truth. I say truth. I no say trash talk, I say truth, and he’s a little bit nervous. He needs wrestling, he needs wrestling partners. But it’s okay. After two months we have fight, we have crazy fight, and when cage close, he understand, ‘Wow, this guy’s crazy. Why I take this fight? Why I take this fight?’ Because I want to smash this guy. He say I won’t smash this guy? [He say,] ‘I kick his ass.’ Okay. 23rd, May. 23rd, May.”
You don’t have to read between the lines here huh? Now, while Nurmagomedov’s rhetoric has clearly been getting to Cerrone, and others, there’s no question that “Cowboy’s” wrestling and ground game is in for a serious, serious test.
Of course, now that the UFC’s reigning champ is someone Nurmagomedov has already beaten, it’s not surprising to hear the Sambo master relay this either:
“I do what I want. I feel I am number-one now,” the 22-0 fighter argued. “I feel I am number-one. Twenty-six years old and I am young, I am hungry and I do what I want. When cage close, Cowboy, you need fly. And you fly 100-percent.”
For a little while now, it seemed like most people were looking forward to a showdown between Pettis and Nurmagomedov, but obviously that’s all been turned upside down. It’s also worth noting that heading into UFC 185, “The Eagle” predicted dos Anjos would “smash” Pettis.
UFC 187 will be hosted by the MGM Grand Garden Arena in Las Vegas, Nevada. In the main event, light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones will take on Anthony Johnson. The card will also see middleweight champ Chris Weidman battle Vitor Belfort.