UFC lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos believes that Khabib Nurmagomedov doesn’t deserve a title shot.
Nurmagomedov returned to the Octagon after two years earlier this month and beat Darrell Horcher via TKO in the second round at UFC on FOX 19 to remain unbeaten in the UFC.
Following his win over Horcher, Nurmagomedov, who beat Dos Anjos via unanimous decision at UFC on FOX 11 in April 2014, demanded that the Brazilian face him in a rematch and put the lightweight title on the line.
“Two years ago, in Florida … I beat you by unanimous decision,” Nurmagomedov said. “Let’s finish our business. I see you in September, October, or maybe November, in New York.”
Dos Anjos, though, was less than impressed with Nurmagomedov’s performance against Horcher and feels that the 27-year-old still has a long way to go before he is worthy of a lightweight title fight.
“I was not even a little impressed,” Dos Anjos told MMA Fighting. “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 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.”
It remains to be seen what the UFC have in store for Nurmagomedov, but Dos Anjos will have to shift his attention off the Russian and on to his title defence against Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 on July 7.