'Keep that belt for me, I'm coming there soon' Russian UFC ace Zabit targets title after next bout
It doesn't exactly roll off the tongue but Magomedsharipov could well become a household name in mixed martial arts before long.
The 27-year-old Dagestani has been imperious in his UFC career to this point, earning four wins from four with three finishes - including the 'Submission of the Year' contender against Brandon Davis in his most recent bout in September - but his next test is set to be his sternest so far.
It has already been officially announced that Zabit will face featherweight veteran Jeremy Stephens at March's UFC 235 event in Las Vegas.
Stephens, or 'Lil' Heathen' as he has become known, has proclaimed himself as one of the biggest punchers at 145lbs and he will need every ounce of that power to overcome the flashy Zabit, a fighter who has displayed a varied arsenal with potent striking and submission skills in recent bouts.
Ahead of the official announcement of the bout, Stephens has taken to social media to make known his enthusiasm for the fight.
Iowa native Stephens is one of the most battle-tested fighters on the UFC roster. Throughout more than eleven years on the UFC roster, he has faced some of the most well-respected fighters in mixed martial arts history including former champions Jose Aldo, Rafael Dos Anjos, Anthony Pettis, Max Holloway, Frankie Edgar, Gilbert Melendez and Renan Barao.
Magomedsharipov, though, looks every inch a future champion and made it clear following Holloway's magnificent title defense against Brian Ortega at UFC 231, tweeting at the champion that he is "coming" for the belt - a journey which will apparently have its next stop in March against Jeremy Stephens.
Congrats @BlessedMMA with brilliant performance...keep that belt for me, I’m coming there soon🥇👊🏻— Zabit Magomedsharipov (@zabeast_mma) December 10, 2018
However, some others are not quite as convinced that Magomedsharipov's ordination as the next champion will survive the challenge of gritty brawler Stephens.
Zabit is a future champ no doubt! Love watching his fights— Dominic Doyle (@dopey000) December 18, 2018
If i think of a fighter that would cause Zabit problems in the 145lb division it would be a brawler with power in both hands that presses forward.Sounds a bit like Jeremy Stephens. Very interested to see how the books line this. I dare them to give me + money on Stephens.— Optimal MMA Picks (@OptimalMMA) December 18, 2018
Stephens will flatline Zabit— Solflash (@solflash) December 16, 2018