Khabib Nurmagomedov Wants TJ Grant for His Next Fight in Early 2014
When UFC 165 was over, the buzz may have been about the amazing title fight in the main event between Jon Jones and Alexander Gustafsson, but that doesn't mean there weren't other notable performances on the card.
One of the most impressive fighters that night in Toronto was undefeated lightweight phenom Khabib Nurmagomedov, who put on a masterful show besting former Strikeforce title contender Pat Healy.
While he was a sizable favorite going into the bout, there were questions about how Nurmagomedov would adjust against a monstrously big lightweight like Healy, who also had a wealth of big fight experience to his credit.
The answer is Nurmagomedov passed the test with flying colors.
The 25-year old from Dagestan moved to 5-0 in the UFC with the victory, and after the fight, he took the time speaking to color commentator Joe Rogan to ask the promotion for a title shot.
Now, as impressive as his win over Healy was on Saturday night, there was little to no chance Nurmagomedov was going to actually receive a shot at the gold. Still, if the championship isn't available, the Russian fighter is going after the next best thing.
According to a report via UFC Tonight on Wednesday, Nurmagomedov and his manager are asking the promotion to match him up with current top lightweight contender TJ Grant when he returns to action.
Grant is currently nursing a concussion that happened prior to his scheduled bout against Benson Henderson at UFC 164. The injury was so severe that Grant had to turn down a fight against new champion Anthony Pettis in December as well.
The Canadian fighter stated in a previous interview with Bleacher Report that he hoped to get back into a training camp by November or December of this year to plan for a return in early 2014.
If that timeline happens and he doesn't want to sit and wait for a title shot, Nurmagomedov would like to be the fighter that welcomes Grant back to the Octagon.
Grant is still considered the No. 1 contender for the lightweight title, and in theory, he would be next in line to face the winner of Pettis and Josh Thomson, who face off Dec. 14 at UFC on Fox 9.
If Grant doesn't want to sit and wait for the winner, however, he could potentially fight in early 2014 against another top lightweight. Only time will tell if Grant will return against a new challenger, or wait to battle for the UFC lightweight title.
Damon Martin is a Featured Columnist for Bleacher Report
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