Umar Nurmagomedov had some harsh words for one of the UFC’s top bantamweights after his latest victory at UFC Vegas 67.
The 26-year-old entered the UFC’s first event of the year as the most significant favorite on the card, and he lived up to those odds by scoring one of the night’s most impressive wins. Matched up with veteran Raoni Barcelos, Nurmagomedov showed he could comfortably hang on the feet with the Brazilian before landing a brutal left hook late in the first round to end the fight.
The win over Barcelos was arguably the undefeated fighter’s most impressive performance so far and extended his pro record to 16-0. With four UFC victories and a highlight-reel knockout now under his belt, Nurmagomedov was asked at the event’s post-fight press conference if he had any sort of message for the rest of the bantamweight division.
“Our team, like Khabib, Islam, Usman, different guys. We like improving, we good, and they look at us like dangerous,” Nurmagomedov answered. “Understand? This one, I saw. Because nobody don’t take fight with me in the Top 15. Even this guy, Ricky Simón. He say ‘Hey, who are you?’ Like this. I’m here Ricky Simón, where are you? I will be champion, you will be stay eight number.”
Umar Nurmagomedov: “I Will Show You Who I Am”
The #10-ranked Simón was one spot ahead of Nurmagomedov heading into UFC Vegas 67, but the 26-year-old dismissed any talk of matching up with the American when asked about his interest in that fight.
“No, I don’t wanna fight with him. I have different name. It will be in March, I hope. March 4. And I don’t wanna fight with him, because of when I ask him fight with me, he say like ‘Oh, who are you?’ I will show you who I am.”
Simón’s UFC career started with three-straight wins before losing back-to-back fights in 2019, but since then he’s put together five-straight victories. The 30-year-old most recently fought last July when he scored a second-round submission over the previously undefeated Jack Shore.
Nurmagomedov’s performance against Barcelos was made all the more impressive by the fact that the Brazilian had previously never been knocked out during a career that began in 2012. The #11-ranked bantamweight wasn’t willing to disclose the name he had in mind for the proposed fight in March, but he was adamant about his willingness to fight anybody not named Ricky Simón.
“Anybody. Anybody, I don’t care. But not this guy. I don’t wanna give him chance.”
What do you make of Nurmagomedov’s comments about Simón?