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.

Related News

BJ Penn Expects to Return in November, Reponds to Dana White’s Comments

  • 26 days ago
  • 179 views

B.J. Penn expects to return to the UFC in November and responds to Dana White's recent comments about him not living up to his full potential. read news >>

Tyron Woodley Calls out Nick Diaz and Georges St-Pierre After UFC 201 Title Win

  • 23 days ago
  • 54 views

After a long climb up the UFC's mountain of 170-pound talent, Tyron Woodley reached the top at UFC 201 by knocking out Robbie Lawler. Now the proud owner of a big gold belt, the newly minted welterwe read news >>

UFC Fight Night 92 Results: Dennis Bermudez Dominates Rony Jason, Calls Out Frankie Edgar

  • 16 days ago
  • 9 views

Eight-ranked featherweight Dennis Bermudez logged a dominating performance in the UFC Fight Night 92 co-main event on Saturday in Salt Lake City. read news >>

Conor McGregor Continues Verbal Blows at WWE, Calls John Cena ‘Failed Mr. Olympia MFer’

  • 9 days ago
  • 48 views

Conor McGregor has challenged the WWE roster and he has gotten personal with the kings of that jungle, past and present: Ric Flair and John Cena. read news >>

Nate Diaz calls out GSP, Woodley on UFC 202 Embedded

  • 8 days ago
  • 16 views

In the first episode of UFC 202 Embedded, Nate Diaz took a shot at new welterweight champion Tyron Woodley and UFC legend Georges St-Pierre. Diaz wasn’t too thrilled with the two of them trying to co read news >>

UFC 202: Cody Garbrandt Calls Shot for Mizugaki, Doubles Down on 'Bully' Cruz

  • 6 days ago
  • 43 views

On fight week, you hear a lot of bold talk from fighters toward their opponents. Leading up to his fight Saturday at UFC 202, Cody Garbrandt may be going above and beyond the call of duty with the bo read news >>

UFC Unfiltered: Cowboy Cerrone and Bob Saget

  • 5 days ago
  • 9 views

Donald Cerrone calls in live from Lake Mead ahead of his fight against Rick Story at UFC 202 and talks skydiving, Diaz vs. McGregor 2, and more. Then, comic and actor Bob Saget talks to Jim and Matt read news >>

Brock Lesnar Calls out Conor McGregor: 'I Take S--Ts Bigger Than That Kid'

  • 3 days ago
  • 191 views

The latest chapter of the Conor McGregor vs. Brock Lesnar saga has arrived, and the last man to speak out on it? None other than the Beast Incarnate. The former NCAA Division I heavyweight wrestling read news >>

UFC 202 Results: Cody Garbrandt Destorys Takeya Mizugaki, Calls Out Dominick Cruz

  • 2 days ago
  • 9 views

Eighth-ranked bantamweight contender Cody Garbrandt continued his rise up the 135-pound ladder on Saturday by taking out veteran Takeya Mizugaki in 48 seconds at UFC 202 in Las Vegas. read news >>

Daniel Cormier Calls out Rumble Johnson After UFC 202 Win, Dismisses Jon Jones

  • 2 days ago
  • 13 views

Following Anthony Johnson's 13-second knockout of Glover Teixeira at UFC 202, Johnson immediately called for a rematch against champion Daniel Cormier, who was in the audience. Cormier took to Twitte read news >>