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22nd Dec 2016

Khabib Nurmagomedov issues perfect response to Jose Aldo claiming he refused to fight him

Well said

Ben Kiely

Jose Aldo’s ducking claim didn’t spark the reaction he might have liked from Khabib Nurmagomedov.

The UFC featherweight champion wants a fight and it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to happen for him anytime soon.

It was thought that a title unification bout against newly-crowned interim king Max Holloway at UFC 208 would be on the cards for ‘Scarface’ next. However, after setting himself up nicely for the February contest by dismantling Anthony Pettis in Toronto, ‘Blessed’ ruled himself out of the Brooklyn bout by suffering a nasty foot injury that will keep him out of training for six weeks.

With the featherweight title fight off the the table for February, Aldo announced that he was offered an interim lightweight title fight instead. The incentives for the Brazilian to accept such an offer are obvious – he wouldn’t have to wait for Holloway to recover to fight again, it would give him the opportunity to become a two-weight champion and it would get him one step closer to that rematch against Conor McGregr he so desperately craves.

Although Aldo didn’t mention any opponent by name, it was clear that there were only two possible 155-ers he could be matched up against for the interim strap – the two-stand-out contenders in the division, Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov.

Aldo claimed that an opponent already turned down the interim title fight offer “because his father didn’t think it was good.” You don’t have to read much into it to realise this was a reference to Nurmagomedov’s father who is the Dagestani’s long-time coach.

It didn’t take long for Nurmagomedov to respond and in a somewhat surprising move, he didn’t rise to Aldo’s comments. Instead, he officially turned down the call-out for very noble reasons. The Russian believes that accepting a fight against Aldo would be construed as him turning down a fight against Ferguson, who has earned a title eliminator after racking up nine-straight wins in the promotion’s deepest division.

Nurmagomedov made it clear that he wants to fight ‘El Cucuy’ next in order to solidify his position as the number one contender before advising Aldo not to buy into the UFC’s mind games and urging him not to lose his cool over empty promises by the promotion. If he continues down this path, Nurmgomedov feels as though Aldo could do untold damage to his reputation.