“I think all of the top-10 really needs to learn wrestling if they want to compete with me,” Nurmagomedov told MMAjunkie through an interpreter.
It’s a confident boast, but one full of truth. After all, the Dagestani-born fighter averages 7.09 takedowns per 15 minutes of octagon time, the highest rate of any fighter in UFC history (minimum of five fights) accord to FightMetric.
Nurmagomedov’s ample grappling prowess was on display this past Saturday night, where he was dominant over fellow top-ranked competitor Rafael dos Anjos. “The Eagle” snapped dos Anjos’ five-fight winning streak by winging heavy uppercuts before slamming his opponent to the floor en route to a clearcut decision win.
It was a thorough victory, though the wrestling-based strategy didn’t always play well to the Florida-crowd attending Saturday’s UFC on FOX 11 event.
Nurmagomedov said he wasn’t overly concerned with those voicing their disapproval and believes his win – his sixth in the UFC – was an impressive feat.
“I think I had a very tough opponent,” Nurmagomedov said. “He was ranked No. 5. I think I did pretty well.”
Nurmagomedov is closing in on six years as a professional fighter and has yet to taste defeat in 22 bouts. In just 16 months in the UFC, he has already downed dos Anjos, Pat Healy, Abel Trujillo, Thiago Tavares, Gleison Tibau and Kamal Shalorus. Nurmagomedov isn’t calling anyone out for his next appearance, but he’s unquestionably due for a big fight.
“He’s impressive,” UFC President Dana White said. “He looked good, and he’s working his way there, for sure.”