The UFC lightweight division got a new champion at the weekend when Rafael dos Anjos beat Anthony Pettis at UFC 185 in Dallas. The new title holder will likely face the winner of the Khabib Nurmagomedov and Donald 'Cowboy' Cerrone fight at UFC 187 on May 23rd.
The trash talk between the Nurmagomedov and Cerrone has already began, well on the Dagestani fighter's part anyway.
Cerrone took part in a Q&A before the weekend's pay-per-view event (where he spoke about Conor McGregor "golden child" status) and was pictured having a beer on stage.
Nurmagomedov couldn't help but tweet about it.
Is this a real American Cowboy? Or I didn't understand something .... @ufc pic.twitter.com/oPUhHQzhSJ
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) March 13, 2015
Cerrone disclosed during the Q&A that his opponent's trash-talk was starting to get under his skin.
The [Benson] Henderson fight, I left a lot out there. But I plan on getting Khabib. He's really getting under my skin. He's doing a good job talking shit on Twitter, and trying to get under me, and it's working. So, I'm stocking that up and I'm going to come fucking unglued.
That might not have been the best idea. Speaking on the MMA Hour with Ariel Helwani, the Russian said that he thought Cerrone was a "fake", "drunk guy" and that he was the real cowboy.
It's just funny. Cowboy is fake. I don't think so he's really cowboy, I think he's fake. He all the time drink, drunk. I don't think so he's really cowboy. I'm really cowboy. I'm mountain guy. I'm training camp all my life, I'm wrestling with the bears. I'm really cowboy. He's drunk guy. I am Dagestan cowboy, 100-percent.
You know why he's a little bit nervous? Because I say truth. I say truth. I no say trash talk, I say truth, and he's a little bit nervous. He needs wrestling, he needs wrestling partners. But it's okay. After two months we have fight, we have crazy fight, and when cage close, he understand, ‘Wow, this guy's crazy. Why I take this fight? Why I take this fight?' Because I want to smash this guy. He say I won't smash this guy? [He say,] ‘I kick his ass.' Okay. 23rd, May. 23rd, May.
The claim from Nurmagomedov that he's not trash talking but simply telling the truth is McGregor-esque.