LAS VEGAS – Shavkat Rakhmonov is looking for a marquee name in the welterweight division after dismantling Neil Magny in the UFC on ESPN 38 co-main event.
Rakhmonov (16-0 MMA, 4-0 UFC) added another finish to his perfect career record on Saturday when he submitted Magny (26-9 MMA, 19-8 UFC) in the second round at the UFC Apex. The result kept his 100 percent stoppage rate intact, and validated Rakhmonov as a legitimate rising contender.
Prior to the event, Rakhmonov predicted he will be UFC champion in 18-24 months. He said “step-by-step we’re going to get this title” in the aftermath of beating Magny, he just needs the correct opponents and performances to get there.
In Rakhmonov’s mind, there are three opponents that would help elevate him in the weight class, and he called their names at the UFC on ESPN 38 post-fight news conference.
“I’m not going to rush,” Rakhmonov told MMA Junkie and other reporters through an interpreter at the UFC on ESPN 38 post-fight news conference. “I’m going to take my time and rest and assess everything with my team. But the names I want to face are Stephen Thompson, Nick Diaz, (Jorge) Masvidal. Let’s go.”
Whether Thompson (16-6-1 MMA, 11-6-1 UFC), Diaz (26-10 MMA, 7-7 UFC), or Masvidal (35-16 MMA, 12-9 UFC) prove to be realistic opponents for Rakhmonov remains to be seen.
Rakhmonov had little issue with Magny in their fight. He used grappling control and positioning throughout, then in the late stages of the second round locked in a guillotine choke. It didn’t appear he would be able to finish it, but Magny tapped out with just two seconds remaining.
Although he anticipated that Magny would make it to the end of the round, Rakhmonov wasn’t surprised that it ended when it did.
“I had a good grip, I was confident in it, but since there was little time left, I was expecting Neil to defend it,” Rakhmonov said. “But maybe after two rounds of beating, he didn’t want to continue. But usually, with this grip, I take seven or eight seconds to put someone to sleep.”