Khabib Nurmagomedov Foresees Rematch With Dos Anjos, This Time For The Belt

UFC 229 ceremonial weigh-in
Photo by David Manning for USA TODAY Sports

Out of action since his unanimous decision win over title contender Rafael dos Anjos last April, top-ranked UFC lightweight Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov is set to battle Donald Cerrone at May’s packed UFC 187 after his originally scheduled bout against “Cowboy” at UFC 178 fell apart when he tore his meniscus.

During his time off, Nurmagomedov has spent a decent amount of time calling out lightweight champion Anthony Pettis, calling him “scared” on several different occasions. “The Eagle” believes that even if “Showtime” is willing to fight him, he isn’t going to get that opportunity, at least for now.

Speaking at the recent L.A. FitExpo (quotes via MMAFighting.com) Nurmagomedov said that he believes dos Anjos, who will battle Pettis in the main event of this weekend’s (Sat., March 14, 2015) UFC 185 from Dallas, will “smash” the champion and take the belt:

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“I think [dos Anjos] smashes [Pettis] in striking and I think he smashes him on the ground. This is my opinion. I don’t know why, but I think he’ll smash him.”

Nurmagomedov already has the blueprint to beat “RDA,” whom he took apart with his grinding wrestling and grappling skills. Despite his win, however, the Sambo wizard won’t call the Brazilian an easy out by any means. Instead, he focused on the effectiveness with which he was able to defeat him:

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“Dos Anjos is no easy man,” Nurmagomedov said. “A lot of people watch and think I beat him easy, but it was not easy. It was no easy fight. I beat him, but nobody beat him like me.”

While “The Eagle” can certainly boast of his one-sided win over dos Anjos, he still has a big mountain to climb in the near future in Cerrone, the surging competitor who has won an incredible seven straight fights since a loss to dos Anjos in August 2013, oddly enough.

Nurmagomedov is undefeated and his dominant mat skills may be peerless even in the stacked 155-pound division, but he’s also coming off of a semi-serious injury and simply can’t look past “Cowboy,” who also has his eyes set on obtaining the belt.

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However, that won’t stop him from predicting a rematch with dos Anjos, this time with the championship on the line:

“I think dos Anjos beats Pettis and if I beat Cerrone, dos Anjos and I fight another time.”

That’s a lot of variables that would have to go right for that specific scenario to unfold, and it’s hard to imagine that Pettis wouldn’t somehow be in that mix depending on his performance at UFC 185.

Should “The Eagle” stayed grounded for the time being, or will his bold predictions pay off?

Photo Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports