UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov continues to insist that he is retired from mixed martial arts.
The 32-year-old Russian announced that he was quitting the sport following his submission victory over Justin Gaethje in October. At the time, that decision appeared solely to have been made as the result of the loss of Khabib's father and coach to complications caused by COVID-19.
In recent weeks, though, Khabib has also questioned the level of opposition that the UFC has to offer him if he were to return.
Top lightweight contenders Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier are due to meet for a second time next month at UFC 257. Khabib, however, says that he has no interest in rematching either man - having previously choked them both out in title matches.
That statement prompted former 155-pound champion Rafael dos Anjos to post footage of himself coming seconds away from choking Khabib out when the pair fought.
Dos Anjos and Khabib tangled back in April 2014 at UFC on FOX 11: Werdum Vs Browne. Although Khabib would eventually go on to win via unanimous decision, the video released by the Brazillian on social media does appear to show Khabib 'snoring' during the bout whilst caught in a deep choke.
In the caption that accompanied the clip on Instagram, Dos Anjos called for another shot at Khabib should "The Eagle" decide to return to competition:
"Khabib said he is not interested in fighting Conor or Dustin as he choked both of them," said dos Anjos. "He did not choke me. As a matter of fact I got him snoring until a slipping rib saved him from [sleeping]. He beat me fair and square, but no one got closer to putting the Champ out.
"My plan was to beat his brother and go after that neck again. That plan fell apart for reasons beyond my control, but I will keep sharping my tools just in case he decides to come back and chooses me."
After Dos Anjos' comments were picked up by mmamania.com, the 36-year-old was quick to play down the suggestion that he was saying Khabib actually tapped out.
"It wasn’t what I said in the post, don’t twist it! I had a good position, I hurt my ribs in the fight week. I just said it could be a different story if we fight nowadays. It was close but he didn’t tap," clarified RDA on Twitter.
Khabib Nurmagomedov needs just one more victory to move his professional mixed martial arts record to 30-0. Should he opt to return, Khabib will have no shortage of challengers willing to face him. However, based on the footage he has recently released, Rafael dos Anjos might have a stronger case than most for that spot.News Now - Sport News