Anthony Pettis may have taken out one of the world’s best lightweights in Gilbert Melendez last night, but that hasn’t stopped Khabib Nurmagomedov from calling for a fight with the champ. In fact, the ridiculously talented grappler challenged Pettis once again during last night’s, post-UFC 181 presser. Now that’s commitment.
Prior to going down with a knee injury, Nurmagomedov (22-0) was steadily working his way up the UFC ranks, thanks to a six fight win streak. Most recently, at UFC on FOX 11 in April, he decisioned Rafael dos Anjos. Currently Nurmagomedov is ranked #2 in the division.
The undefeated fighter told MMA Junkie.com after last night’s card that:
“I am No. 1 contender right now. My doctor said I can fight in April or May. Let’s go. Anytime, anywhere in April, May or June.”
After Nurmagomedov repeated his desire to face Pettis, at the post-fighter presser, the champion responded with:
“If they want it next, give him a shot,” Pettis said. “I’m ready. I’m injury-free; I feel good. You guys saw what I did to Gilbert Melendez. Let’s do it.”
Apparently, Nurmagomedov didn’t catch “Showtime” accepting his challenge at first, and after saying something else, Pettis relayed:
“I just said yeah, man,” Pettis added. “Does he speak English? I just said yeah. Oh, OK. We’ll if you’re ready in May, I’m ready now.”
So, could this happen? Possibly. After all, the only man who is ranked ahead of Nurmagomedov is Melendez, who Pettis just beat.
“The Eagle” may not be a fan favorite with the ‘just stand and bang bro’ contingent, but it would be fascinating to see whether Pettis can overcome the lightweight’s awe inspiring, grappling game.