Bellator 283: Usman Nurmagomedov Predicts A.J. McKee Will Struggle at Lightweight

Lightweight Usman Nurmagomedov notched another victory and another finish at Bellator 283 in Tacoma, WA on Friday, improving to 15-0 in the process.

The cousin of Khabib Nurmagomedov, who now serves as his coach, has been making waves since his arrival in the promotion.

Securing a submission win over Chris Gonzalez, Nurmagomedov sounded ready to go again after the fight.

“I had a very good camp, and no injuries, thank God,” he told media outlets including Cageside Press, “and if Bellator offers me a fight next week, I’m ready to take it.”

Nurmagomedov called for a title fight following his win at Bellator 283. While champion Patricky Pitbull appears focused on a rematch with Tofiq Musayev, who also had an impressive win Friday, nothing is set in stone. Asked how a hypothetical match-up between himself and Pitbull would go, Nurmagomedov admitted he hadn’t followed the Brazilian too closely.

“I honestly, I haven’t watched his fights that much, but if they offer me this fight, I’m going to watch every single one of them,” he stated. “I’m going to make a strategy, me and my team.”

Nurmagomedov is hoping for a date in the Fall, however. “I heard that there is going to be an event in October, if they offer me this fight in October, I would love to take it and go. As far as how it’s going to go, I’m just going to go out there and be myself, as always.”

The idea that Nurmagomedov doesn’t watch the champion is perhaps less surprising than it seems. He later indicated that he only recently took notice of the top fighters in his division, period.

“Just recently I started watching the fighters in the top 15. Whenever they fight, I kind of take a look at it,” Nurmagomedov explained. “But to just sit there, go on their Sherdog page, analyze their career, and go back and watch their fights, I’ve never done that.”

Former featherweight champion A.J. McKee could be destined for the lightweight division in the near future; asked if that was a fight that would interest him, Nurmagomedov was open to it, but predicted the former featherweight champ would struggle in the weight class.

“I fought on the same card with him when he won a million dollars, and I’ve watched his fights before. I have to give him respect because he’s a former champ, but hey, 155 is a different jungle,” Nurmagomedov stated. Like himself, McKee started his career on a brilliant unbeaten streak, making it to 18-0 and winning a title before suffering his first defeat. “If he wants to come up and fight in my division, welcome. Because this division is full of very talented and skillful guys, and I think he’s going to have trouble having success in this division.”

“But if they match me with him, no problem,” he added. “I’m ready.”

Watch the full Bellator 283 post-fight press scrum with Usman Nurmagomedov above.