UFC Vegas 50 main event winner Magomed Ankalaev has set his sights on a title shot next, after racking up eighth straight victory

Once regarded as the dark horse of the division, Magomed Ankalaev has slowly turned to become a favorite to contest for the UFC light heavyweight championship. The coveted ‘Master of Sports’ in combat sambo has been on a rampage with his eight-fight win streak.

Magomed Ankalaev
Magomed Ankalaev

At the UFC Vegas 50 main event fight against Thiago Santos, Ankalaev staked his claim at the next title shot, with a unanimous decision victory. The Dagestani wasn’t really impressed with his performance, but felt like the fight builds up his momentum moving closer to title contention.

He said, “I am happy that I won. To be honest, it is what it is. We expected him to move forward for the whole fight and to catch him on his mistakes, but he preferred to move backwards. That’s why I preferred to strike with him.

“To be honest, I’m not glad with my performance totally, because I expected him to make an entertaining fight, to strike more, but it is what it is.”

He was quite vocal about being the next in line to face Glover Texeira and said, “In my opinion, I deserve the title shot next. Because I am on an eight-fight winning streak and some of the fights I finished the guys, and I feel I’m ready.”

Ankalaev dismissed the idea of a fight against Anthony Smith and said, “As you know, Anthony Smith was offered to fight me before and he wasn’t interested, as I have said,” Ankalaev stated during the ESPN+ post-fight show. “Now I’m looking forward to get the title shot next. I believe I deserve it.”

Anthony Smith responds to Magomed Ankalaev’s unwillingness to fight him

The UFC had initially offered Anthony Smith a fight against Ankalaev at UFC Vegas 50. ‘Lionheart’ wasn’t quite healthy enough to take up the fight and expressed his willingness to fight him now.

He said, “He was offered the fight. I was fresh out of knee surgery and staph infection, so unfortunately I wasn’t able to take it then.

“I’m healthy now. I’ve been begging for a fight. I think me and the UFC have been waiting for this matchup to happen to see how it unfolds. I guess I do apologize for getting staph infection.”

Smith is on a three-fight win streak of his own, after briefly retiring from the sport. He is quite appealed by the idea of a matchup against Ankalaev, but wants to fight as early as possible regardless of the Dagestani’s willingness to fight him

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