Many people probably thought Khabib Nurmagomedov was just trolling, when he predicted Rafael dos Anjos would “smash” Anthony Pettis, but following UFC 185, “The Eagle” is doing a bit of the old, ‘I told you so.’
While Pettis fans may not think “Showtime” got ‘smashed’ on Saturday night, they would likely concede that dos Anjos worked over the now former champ pretty good. A lot of people believed dos Anjos would be a big test for Pettis, sure, but not too many saw it going the way it did. Except, apparently, for Nurmagomedov.
“The Eagle” appeared on the latest edition of “The MMA Hour”, and Nurmagomedov was asked why he made the prediction that he did, leading into UFC 185 (quote via MMA Fighting.com). Here is some of what the 22-0 fighter had to say:
“Because I feel Rafael dos Anjos when I fight with him,” Nurmagomedov said. “Before fight with me, he smash five- win streak. He smash a lot of guys, smash Cowboy Cerrone too. And after me he have very good win streak, three win streak, knock out Benson Henderson. When I fight with Rafael dos Anjos, I feel he’s very strong guy, but when I say he smash Anthony Pettis, a lot of people say, ‘Khabib says trash talk.’
Nurmagomedov is referring to the fact that he got a feel for what dos Anjos is capable of when the fought last April. Nurmagomedov won the bout via unanimous decision. Of course, Nurmagomedov has been arguing for some time that Pettis isn’t the world beater that many people believe, and the renowned grappler continued that rhetoric on Monday.
“I think he’s no bad fighter. But his ground, his grappling and wrestling, is zero,” Nurmagomedov said. “This is my mind. I think he’s maybe top-10. Maybe. Maybe. I think a lot of people in lightweight can beat this guy.”
The 26 year-old noted that in his opinion, the top four lightweights are himself, dos Anjos, Donald Cerrone and Michael Johnson. Nurmagomedov is booked to fight Cerrone on May 23rd at UFC 187, and the winner will lock up a title shot.
Nurmagomedov also brought up the fact that not long ago, Dana White said Pettis was the best “pound-for-pound fighter”, and that his coach, Duke Roufus, cited him as the “Floyd Mayweather of MMA.” The lightweight contender call those statements a “joke.”