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Nikita Krylov and Fabio Maldonado squaring off in the cage with a belt on the line? It won’t be in the octagon, but it might happen.

After a Fight Nights Global 77 starching of Emanuel Newton earned Krylov his second straight win since leaving the UFC, he took to the mic to issue a challenge. It was a simple, straightforward one – directed at a fellow UFC vet who happens to have recently earned the vacant FNG light heavyweight title.

“I have one thing to say – and this is: Fabio Maldonado, I challenge you to a title fight,” Krylov said. “This will be a stand-up fight. It’s either your hands or my feet. Let’s see who’s better” (via Twitter):

Krylov was the protagonist of one of the most talked-about UFC departures earlier this year. Before a first-round submission loss to Mirka Cirkunov in the octagon, the 24-year-old was riding a five-fight winning streak and was highly regarded as top talent in an otherwise shallow division.

Krylov (22-5) is ranked No. 11 in the latest USA TODAY Sports/MMAjunkie MMA light heavyweight rankings and said it was his decision to part ways with the promotion.  Maldonado (24-11), in turn, was on a two-fight skid before the UFC cut him loose – having lost three of his last four octagon outings.

The Brazilian heavy hitter has also been enjoying some success outside the octagon, though. While Maldonado did go on a two-fight skid immediately after leaving, one of the losses was a highly controversial call against heavyweight legend Fedor Emelianenko.

Maldonado has also been on a two-fight, two-finish streak, which includes his first submission win in more than seven years: a guillotine choke that earned him the belt over Kurban Omarov.

The Blue Corner is MMAjunkie‘s official blog and is edited by Mike Bohn.

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