Khabib Nurmagomedov has pulled out of nearly half as many fights as he has fought in UFC throughout his career.
Conor McGregor, when he was a more reckless trash talker than the calculated version of himself we see now, once called Khabib Nurmagomedov a "pull-out merchant" for the number of times he withdrew from a fight.
"He ain't fight too frequent for my liking. For me to commit to something like that, I need to see solid proof that people are gonna show up and he's a consistent pull-out merchant."
This incident happened before the two of them faced off at UFC 229 and Khabib Nurmagomedov came out victorious with a submission win. However, it still stands true that he has pulled out of several fights.
Khabib Nurmagomedov has pulled out of a total of five booked UFC fights. Here are the five fights in question.
5. UFC 178 - Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Donald Cerrone
UFC 178 saw Donald Cerrone face Eddie Alvarez in the co-main event. But in a later reveal by UFC president Dana White, the earlier rumors of him being booked for a fight with Khabib Nurmagomedov turned out to be true.
The fight was supposed to take place at the PPV, but twenty minutes after filing the paperwork, Nurmagomedov blew his knee, leading to the matchup's cancellation.
4. UFC 187 - Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Donald Cerrone
Khabib Nurmagomedov pulled out of yet another matchup with Donald Cerrone more than a year later. However, his knee was once again the culprit. A knee injury caused 'The Eagle' to withdraw from UFC 187, and John Makdessi replaced him as 'Cowboy's' opponent.
3. The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale - Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
The cancellation of Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Tony Ferguson fights is a source of inside jokes in the MMA community. The first time it was scrapped was at TUF 22 Finale, and it was Khabib Nurmagomedov who pulled out because of a rib injury.
2. UFC 209 - Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
An injury to Tony Ferguson was the reason why the fight was cancelled for a second time. The third time around, it was Khabib Nurmagomedov once again. Their third bout was scheduled for UFC 209, but Nurmagomedov was hospitalized ahead of the fight because of weight cut issues, leading to another cancellation.
1. UFC 249 - Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson
Booked and cancelled for a record five times, this time the one to blame for the shot dreams of the MMA fans was the ongoing pandemic. Khabib Nurmagomedov was in Russia when Coronavirus travel restrictions made it impossible for him to leave the country and travel to Jacksonville, where the event was taking place almost a month after its original scheduled date. They even had a face-off for the fight, but it could not happen for the fifth time in a row.
Tony Ferguson called Khabib a cowards for ducking him a third time.
However, Dana White took responsibility for this withdrawal as well, and blamed it on the uncertainty of the pandemic situation for the cancellation of the bout.
Tony Ferguson fought Justin Gaethje instead for the interim lightweight belt and lost, but earned the champion's respect by the end.Published 31 Dec 2020, 23:37 IST