UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos has won five straight fights since his 2014 loss to Khabib Nurmagomedov, but despite that being his only loss since 2012 he doesn’t think the Dagestani has earned the right to fight him for the title.
In an interview with MMAJunkie.com, dos Anjos argued that Nurmagomedov needs to put together a run against legitimate competition in order to get his shot at the belt.
“I think to get a title shot you need to have some expressive winnings,” dos Anjos said. “[We’re] talking about a fight for a world title… His last fight was against a guy with a full-time job, and I beat [Nate] Diaz, [Anthony] Pettis, Ben Henderson, [Donald] Cerrone, and I earned it. I earned my title.
“You can’t just beat a guy that went there just to cover some guy that got an injury and then this guy, after two-and-a-half years, get a title shot. [Eddie Alvarez is] a guy that earned it. He beat two former world champions. He beat Anthony Pettis. He beat Melendez. [Nurmagomedov] beat one guy with a full-time job.”
Instead of Nurmagomedov, dos Anjos believes Tony Ferguson will be next after his July 15 matchup with Michael Chiesa.
Penick’s Analysis: There’s a justifiable argument here for Ferguson over Nurmagomedov, especially with a win over Chiesa. Nurmagomedov’s win over dos Anjos gives him an edge in the conversation, but a two year layoff definitely hurt him there as well. Another win in the fall may be a necessity, and it would be reasonable of the UFC to book dos Anjos-Ferguson next if they both win next month.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
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