UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos has won four straight fights in the division, dating back to a decision loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, and the champ is feeling for his former foe this week after the latest injury to Dagestani competitor.
“I feel bad for him,” dos Anjos said in an interview with Submission Radio this weekend. “He’s a young guy. I want him to recover because I want to fight him again. That’s my will. But I feel bad for him. He’s a young guy, and I really don’t wish anything bad for my opponents. I want them all [to be] the best. Especially [because] he’s been hurt for, like you said, three times in a row. And man, I wish him all the best and I really feel bad for him.”
Nurmagomedov has been publicly contemplating retirement after the latest injury, and says the advice of his father will play a big part in his decision. While dos Anjos wants a chance to avenge that loss, he says he wouldn’t be disappointed if that’s the decision Nurmagomedov made, but he also doesn’t think that’s the route that will be taken.
“No [it wouldn’t] disappoint me, I just feel bad for him,” dos Anjos reiterated. “Like, [if the] guy’s gonna retire – I think he’s 25 or 26 (Ed. Note: Nurmagomedov is now 27) – and gonna retire at that age, undefeated record, he’s gonna retire at 25 years old? But I think he’s just mad right now, you know, just sad for a while. But once he recovers 100 percent, he’s going to come back to fight. I think so.”
Penick’s Analysis: It would certainly be a shame for Nurmagomedov never to make it back, but like dos Anjos, I think the Dagestani fighter will return. The UFC Lightweight Champ wants to continue proving he’s the best in the world in this weight class, and to do so he probably feels he needs to beat Nurmagomedov in a rematch. I think that’s still in the future, though dos Anjos is going to have some tough tests yet ahead before then. Regardless, dos Anjos’ feelings on Nurmagomedov’s plight are shared by many at this point.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]