UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov calls out B.J Penn, T.J. Grant


khabib-nurmagomedov-6.jpgKhabib Nurmagomedov is a man who seems to know what he wants.

He wants someone with initials. B.J. or T.J. – either one will do.

Nurmagomedov (20-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) has mentioned his interest in a fight with former lightweight and welterweight champion B.J. Penn (16-9-2 MMA, 12-8-2 UFC) in the past, asking UFC President Dana White on Twitter in June for a chance to meet the man he’s been a fan of since he was a kid.

The Russian “Eagle” reiterated that hope in an interview with Thomas Gerbasi of UFC.com – and also called out recent No. 1 lightweight contender T.J. Grant (21-5 MMA, 8-3 UFC) at the same time.

“I have asked for a fight with B.J. Penn, but I have not received a response,” Nurmagomedov said. “Perhaps they have different plans for him. I wanted to fight someone I watched on TV when I was younger. He is a legend. If B.J. is not available, I would love to fight Grant. If he feels that he is the next title contender, let him prove it by beating me at UFC 165 in his homeland.”

Nurmagomedov is unbeaten in his pro career and in his first 18 months in the UFC has gone 4-0 with a pair of stoppages.

In his most recent outing, he set a UFC record by taking Abel Trujillo down 21 times in a unanimous decision win at UFC 160 in May. But for that fight, he came in heavy and had to fight at a catchweight, forfeiting a portion of his purse to Trujillo.

Asking for Penn or Grant could be wishful thinking for the 24-year-old, who has split training time between his native Russia, AMA Fight Club in New Jersey and American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, Calif.

Penn hasn’t formally announced his retirement, but he hasn’t fought since a unanimous decision loss to Rory MacDonald in December. That was his first fight in more than a year after being similarly dominated by Nick Diaz at UFC 137.

Penn is approaching three years since his most recent win, a 21-second knockout of Matt Hughes at UFC 123. And White hasn’t been shy in saying he is in favor of the 34-year-old former champ calling it a career.

Grant is coming off an upset of Gray Maynard at UFC 160 that earned him a “Knockout of the Night” bonus – but more importantly, a title shot against lightweight champion Benson Henderson.

At 5-0 since dropping to 155 pounds from welterweight, Grant’s run included three stoppages and a pair of bonus awards. But just this past week, Grant had to pull out of his title shot at UFC 164 thanks to a concussion. Instead, Anthony Pettis meets Henderson for the first time since taking his WEC title at that promotion’s final event.

Thanks to the concussion, Grant may be slow to return – and if he already knew he wouldn’t be ready for UFC 164 in Milwaukee on Aug. 31, what are the odds he’d be ready to go three weeks later at UFC 165 on Sept. 21 – even if it is in his native Canada?

Grant has acknowledged that when he’s ready to return, he might have to take another fight to re-prove he’s the No. 1 lightweight contender, rather than sitting back to wait for the Henderson-Pettis winner. But whether or not he’d be willing to step up on Nurmagomedov’s request remains to be seen.

Either way, it appears clear that Nurmagomedov is hoping to move past the middle-tier lightweights like Kamal Shalorus, Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares and Trujillo and onto a bigger name in the hopes of getting a title shot of his own.

For complete coverage of UFC 160, stay tuned to the UFC Events section of the site.

(Pictured: Khabib Nurmagomedov)

view original article >>
Report here if this news is invalid.
From Around the Web

Related News

  • 24 days ago
  • 4 views

The waters surrounding, what is arguably, the most talent-rich weight class in the UFC have become even more murky following Donald Cerrone's victory over Myles Jury at UFC 182. Cowboy Cerrone made a read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 14 views

UFC lightweight champion Anthony Pettis is not convinced Khabib Nurmagomedov can handle a 25-minute fight against him. Although Khabib Nurmagomedov can certainly talk a big game, Anthony Pettis is no read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 10 views

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Anthony Pettis has been getting dogged by top 155-pound contender Khabib Nurmagomedov, who continues to pine for a 155-pound title shot again read news >>

  • 12 days ago
  • 5 views

UFC lightweight Norman Parke revealed that, with a win on Sunday night, he would be interested in a match-up against Dagestan’s Khabib Nurmagomedov. read news >>

  • 8 days ago
  • 7 views

If two top UFC lightweight contenders get their way, they could be fighting for a title shot at UFC 187 in May.Filed under: News, UFC read news >>

  • 25 days ago
  • 2 views

Donald Cerrone is clearly on a tear within the Ultimate Fighting Championship. At UFC 182, he dominated Myles Jury to earn his sixth straight win, dating back to UFC 167 in 2013. With this win, Cerro read news >>

  • 9 days ago
  • 10 views

Donald Cerrone defeated Benson Henderson via unanimous decision at UFC Fight Night “McGregor vs. Siver,” winning for the first time in their three meetings. read news >>

  • 7 days ago
  • 29 views

All that's left to do is get UFC brass on board. Joe Silva's job gets easier by the day. Fresh off his unanimous decision victory over Ben Henderson last Sunday (Jan. 18, 2015) at UFC Fight Night 59 read news >>

  • 20 days ago
  • 212 views

Anthony Pettis is focused on his upcoming title defense with Rafael dos Anjos. But with Khabib Nurmagomedov lurking in the background, “Showtime” admits the Dagestani’s constant lurking is getting a read news >>