Zabit Calls For Title Shot After UFC 235

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Among the many storylines of last weekend’s (Sat., March 2, 2019) jam-packed UFC 235 from Las Vegas is the continued rise of featherweight future star Zabit Magomedsharipov. Now it’s apparently time Zabit calls for his title shot.

Zabit took on dangerous veteran Jeremy Stephens in the featured preliminary card bout of the night. He won via convincing unanimous decision. He may not have blown the roof off the T-Mobile Arena with the win, but he did improve to a shining 5-0 in the UFC. The win over “Lil’ Heathen” was his 13th in a row.

Ranked at No. 13 heading into UFC 235, Zabit took out the No. 6 contender. Looking at the featherweight division, the Dagestani is inching closer to title contention. He may already be there, at least in his opinion. Discussing his next move in a backstage interview at UFC 235 via MMAjunkie, Zabit said the belt is ‘up for grabs,’ so he wants the next shot.

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He would also consider fighting the winner of Jose Aldo and Alexander Volkanovski:

“I think I’m close enough – I’m 5-0, and the belt is up for grabs. I’m ready to fight my next fight for a title, or wait for the winner of (Jose) Aldo and (Alexander) Volkanovski.”

Title Shot Next?

It’s difficult to deny that Zabit is now in the mix at featherweight, yet a title shot in his next fight may be hard to come by. Champ Max Holloway will challenge Dustin Poirier for the interim lightweight championship at April 13’s UFC 236. We don’t know what will happen to the 145-pound title picture as a result.

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And there’s also the aforementioned Aldo vs. Volkanovski bout. If ‘The Great” is able to beat former champ Aldo, it’ll be tough to deny him the next shot. He recently knocked out three-time title contender Chad Mendes in his last bout. So Zabit could have to win another fight or two. He can’t control which fights the UFC offers, only his preparation for each win.

With that established, he voiced his happiness at securing a victory over Stephens and the efforts his camp made:

“In general, I’m very happy with my performance. I got to 5-0 now. This was a good performance against a top opponent, so I’m happy about it. I needed this win. I knew Jeremy was a tough opponent from the beginnin, I was ready for everything, I had a good camp back home in Dagestan … and then I came to the U.S. about a month and a half in advance.

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“”My coaches here, Mark Henry and Ricardo Almeida, did a lot of work, so we had a good preparation.”