Umar Nurmagomedov has listed two former UFC champions as opponents he would have loved to have faced in the past.
The 27-year-old only made his UFC debut in 2021, but he has already climbed to position #11 in the bantamweight standings of the organisation. In his first two UFC fights, against Sergey Morozov and Brian Kelleher, he won via rear naked choke before defeating Nate Maness by unanimous decision. But, Nurmagomedov's most recent victory over Raoni Barcelos was undoubtedly his best victory to date.
Unbeaten fighters nearly always have a spotlight on their backs, but despite a 4-0 start in the UFC, Nurmagomedov believes he is having trouble finding opponents.
In a recent interview with Josh Thomson and "Big" John McCarthy for their programme Weighing In, the Russian mentioned some names that could challenge Nurmagomedov in the future.
“If we talk about names, like dream fights," Nurmagomedov said. "Like with who I really want fight. I think José Aldo retired, this is impossible. But still, Dominick Cruz. This guy legend. Or if T.J. Dillashaw will come back, I want this fight to.”
“These two guys, like they was champions. They was toughest. But now this little bit older, I think that’s why everybody will say ‘This is not his prime. We don’t know how you will fight with him if it was his prime.’ You understand?”
Dillashaw, a former two-time UFC bantamweight champion, served a two-year USADA suspension before his bantamweight title fight against Aljamain Sterling at UFC 280. Due to a pre-existing injury, the 37-year-shoulder old's popped out early in the bout. After losing by TKO, Dillashaw later announced his retirement.
During his reign as UFC champion, Aldo established himself as probably the greatest featherweight in the history of the sport, but the Brazilian also enjoyed a fantastic late-career run as a bantamweight.