When a matchup between Gilbert Melendez and Khabib Nurmagomedov fell through under yet-to-be-explained circumstances, rumors started to swirl that "El Nino" wanted no part of a fight with the fearsome Russian. While we don't know for sure what happened to nix that fight, apparently Melendez isn't the only Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fighter that won't throw down with Nurmagomedov.
Talk about throwing your guys under the bus! The UFC President didn't stop there, though:
Very, very interesting...
Nurmagomedov has blazed through competition in a way we haven't seen for a long time in the super-competitive lightweight division. He owns a perfect 21-0 record and hasn't even officially lost a round in the UFC yet. His most recent fight was a shockingly lopsided mauling of crafty veteran Pat Healy.
He is a very dangerous fight for any given opponent, and that makes him a less-than-favorable option for longtime contenders who remain in the title hunt, like Melendez and Diaz.
The situation is quite similar to when Glover Teixeira first burst onto the light heavyweight scene. White drummed up Mauricio "Shogun" Rua, who turned down a fight with the Brazilian knockout artist in a way that built him up as a fearsome contender—in reality, Rua was on the fringe of title contention, while Teixeira was an unknown commodity with just one UFC fight under his belt.
The aforementioned bout between Melendez and Nurmagomedov was supposed to go down at UFC 170. Last we heard, the UFC was looking to keep him on the card.
Update No. 1
Apparently there is one guy who wants to throw down with Nurmagomedov:
Update No. 2
Diaz put up an interesting tweet:
Well, it wasn't a direct reply—but it would be one heck of a coincidence, wouldn't it?