Dos Anjos “not even a little impressed” with Nurmagomedov’s UFC on Fox 19 win, doesn’t think he deserves title fight

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

Khabib Nurmagomedov, the last man to defeat current UFC Lightweight Champ Rafael dos Anjos, returned to the cage earlier this month for the first time since that fight, and defeated a late replacement opponent in Darrell Horcher.

The win took him a little bit longer than some may have expected, and dos Anjos himself didn’t come away thinking much of Nurmagomedov’s performance.

“I was not even a little impressed,” dos Anjos said of the fight in an interview with MMAFighting.com. “He fought a guy who has a full-time job and took the fight on a week’s notice. After the first minute, with all due respect, [Horcher] looked pink, completely out of shape, and [Khabib] still needed almost two rounds to finish the fight.

“Congratulations to the opponent that accepted the fight, but there’s no way… When I lost to Khabib, I was ranked No. 5 or 6 and many things have changed since,” he continued. “He beat a guy who has a full-time job, and I beat Jason High, Ben Henderson, Nate Diaz, Anthony Pettis and Donald Cerrone.

“… I offered him to fight me in July when his fight got cancelled, but he couldn’t do it for religious reasons, I guess, but the opportunity was offered and he didn’t say yes. Now he beats a guy who has a full-time job and thinks he deserves a title shot? In my opinion, he does not. He has to work more. He can’t live the rest of his life saying ‘oh, I beat Rafael, I’m the champion without the belt.’ He has to work. Forget about that. I’ve done a lot of things and evolved more since that fight.”

Penick’s Analysis: Yes, dos Anjos has done a ton more since losing that fight, and yes, Nurmagomedov’s return wasn’t the most impressive win he’s had. With that said, Nurmagomedov’s absolutely the No. 1 contender, and only Tony Ferguson with a summer win over another top contender would be worthy of usurping him for that spot. Dos Anjos isn’t going to really have a say in it when the UFC decides to book that next Lightweight Title fight after July.

[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]

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