Russian lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov put himself in the mix with an impressive victory over Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 10, and he wants the winner of the upcoming Jim Miller vs. Donald Cerrone bout next. The pair of top tier lightweight mainstays will square off at UFC Fight Night 45 on July 16 in Atlantic City, NJ. after both securing impressive victories in April.
Nurmagomedov’s manager Sam Kardan reported the wishes of the 25 year old on this week’s edition of UFC Tonight, with the unbeaten prospect staying active rather than sitting on the sidelines. With his impressive victory over then-ranked #5 lightweight Rafael dos Anjos, Nurmagomedov put himself on track for a title shot in his next fight, though the lightweight division has been put on hold due to a number of circumstances.
Despite dominating a top 5 lightweight, an injury suffered to Anthony Pettis means that the lightweight division will be clogged up for a number of months. Pettis is set to coach the TUF 20 season alongside Gilbert Melendez, with the pair fighting in December. On top of this, TJ Grant was previously promised a title shot, as well as Josh Thomson, who – despite losing a controversial decision to Benson Henderson since – could be put on the fast track to a title fight with a win over Michael Johnson in July.
The winner of the upcoming Cerrone vs. Miller fight seems the most sensible option for ‘The Eagle’, with the only other viable option being the winner of next month’s Benson Henderson vs. Rustam Khabilov bout. With Khabilov being a training partner of Nurmagomedov, a win for the fellow Dagestan native would make a match-up between the two unlikely, though a Henderson win could cause bad blood between the former champion and the current #4 lightweight, Nurmagomedov.
With Donald Cerrone ranked #5 and Jim Miller ranked #7, the winner of that bout would likely be just one more win away from a shot at the title. This is the same position as the ever-improving Khabib, and this seems a no brainer in a lightweight division full of potentially fun fights.