Khabib Nurmagomedov will almost certainly lock up a title shot if he beats Donald Cerrone at UFC 187, but apparently the lightweight believes he’ll face Rafael dos Anjos for the belt, and not Anthony Pettis, if he does.
Not long ago, Nurmagomedov was campaigning pretty, pretty hard for a fight with the champ Pettis, but due to his knee injury, the promotion tapped dos Anjos for a title shot. Pettis-dos Anjos will headline UFC 185 this Saturday, and when Nurmagomedov was recently asked by MMA Fighting.com for his thoughts on the fight, he stated:
“I think [dos Anjos] smashes [Pettis] in striking and I think he smashes him on the ground,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is my opinion. I don’t know why, but I think he’ll smash him.”
“Dos Anjos is no easy man,” Nurmagomedov said. “A lot of people watch and think I beat him easy, but it was not easy. It was no easy fight.”
How about that huh? Now, if you look at the betting lines, the oddsmakers don’t believe dos Anjos is going to run through Pettis, as the champ is a favorite in the -350 to -450 range. The consensus opinion amongst MMA fans and observers seems to be that while dos Anjos is dangerous, and extremely well rounded, Pettis will remain lightweight champ on Sunday AM.
In fact, due to Nurmagomedov’s ridiculously good grappling game, many seem to believe that the undefeated fighter, has a better chance of ending the reign of Pettis than dos Anjos…As Nurmagomedov mentioned, he decisioned dos Anjos in April, 2014, and he’s the only man to defeat the challenger since 2011.
Whether dos Anjos can “smash” Pettis or not, hopefully it’s an entertaining fight.
UFC 185 will be hosted by the American Airlines Center in Dallas on March 14th, and will also feature strawweight champ Carla Esparza taking on Joanna Jedrzejczyk.
UFC 187, meanwhile, will go down on May 23rd in Las Vegas, and will feature light-heavyweight champ Jon Jones taking on Anthony Johnson. The card will also see middleweight champ Chris Weidman battle Vitor Belfort.