Bellator 288’s Usman Nurmagomedov Blasts Pitbull: “He Got This Title Because of His Name”

Patricky Pitbull has been vocal about his belief that Usman Nurmagomedov’s title shot at Bellator 288 is based on his name — made famous by his cousin, Khabib, the former UFC lightweight champion.

During this week’s Bellator 288 media day, Nurmagomedov (15-0) finally got to respond to that criticism.

Asked by Cageside Press if he felt Pitbull was the best lightweight in Bellator MMA, given names like Nurmagomedov himself, and Tofiq Musayev (who holds a win over the champ) still stalk the division, Nurmagomedov put himself forward as the best 155’er around. He then fired back at Pitbull, suggesting his time as champ came about only because of his brother Patricio vacating the lightweight belt.

“My opinion, I am the best lightweight in this division, and I am the best lightweight in Bellator,” Nurmagomedov stated. “The reason for that is that I have ambition. I want this, and I’m trying very hard every day to become the best version of myself.”

He then turned his attention to Pitbull’s prior comments. “This dude, how is he talking about me not earning it and getting it out of my name, but he fought for the title— first of all, he loses one, he wins one, he loses one, he wins one. He’s never consistent with win streaks. And he got this title because of his name. He’s the one who got this title because of his name— his brother’s name. He lost a fight, and then he won one, he lost one, and then his brother was fighting for the title, then his brother moved back down, and he ended up fighting for the title just because his name is Pitbull.”

To be fair, Pitbull put together a seven-fight win streak from 2017 to 2019, before running into the aforementioned Musayev. He then dropped two straight, but after brother Patricio vacated the belt, Patricky stepped into an immediate rematch with Peter Queally for the vacant title, and came out on top.

“He is who he is. He says I am the one that got this title [shot] because of my name, but that’s not what it is,” Nurmagomedov continued. “He knows it’s not true.”

Should Nurmagomedov dethrone the champ, he’ll likely be the man holding gold when the lightweight grand prix gets underway next year.

“We will see. Personally, I’m ready. Everybody loves money, and the winner of that tournament gets a million dollars,” noted the Bellator 288 title challenger. “Let’s go!”

Watch the full Bellator 288 virtual media day appearance from Usman Nurmagomedov above. Nurmagomedov faces Patricky Pitbull in the co-main event this Friday, November 18, 2022 in Chicago, IL.