If things had unfolded just a little bit differently back in February, Khabib Nurmagomedov could be wearing UFC interim lightweight gold right now. He was, after all, scheduled for an interim lightweight title fight with fellow star Tony Ferguson.
Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov was forced out of this planned collision with Ferguson after he was hospitalized due to a botched weight cut. Left without an opponent at the last minute, Ferguson was then also forced off the card.
In a recent interview with ToFight.ru (via BloodyElbow.com), Nurmagomedov gave an update on his current situation, explaining that he expects to be able to train again sometime around June, and that he’s shooting for a return to the cage around October. He also believes that, despite his recent troubles, he’s still likely to meet Tony Ferguson in an interim title fight upon his return.
“REGARDING HEALTH – I HAVE NEARLY COMPLETED REHABILITATION,” SAID KHABIB “I WILL START TO TRAIN SOMEWHERE IN THE MIDDLE OF JUNE. THE RETURN IS PLANNED FOR OCTOBER BECAUSE I NEED FOUR MONTHS OF FULL TRAINING. AS FOR THE MATCH, I THINK, THAT 90 PERCENT I WILL FIGHT FOR THE INTERIM TITLE.”
“ACTUALLY, RIGHT NOW THE UFC LIGHTWEIGHT DIVISION IS ONE OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE. IN THIS CASE, THERE ARE MANY WORTHY MEN WHO WILL ALREADYFIGHT FOR THE TITLE IN THE NEAR FUTURE. WHO I’M GOING TO FIGHT IS NOT YET KNOWN, BUT OF COURSE I WILL INSIST ON A FIGHT WITH TONY FERGUSON BECAUSE NOW I DO NOT SEE ANY OTHER CONTENDERS AND I DO NOT WANT TO FIGHT WITH ANYONE, BUT TO HIM.”
At 24-0, Nurmagomedov is undeniably one of the best lightweights on earth. Given his many recent withdrawals from fights, however, it’s hard to ay whether he’s awarded the interim title fight he seeks. Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov deserves a title shot upon his return?
This article first appeared onBJPenn.comon 5/22/2017.