UFC Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov may be back inside the Octagon much sooner than most people might have imagined. The undefeated fighter, who was forced to pull out of a lightweight title bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 due to travel restrictions in Russia because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic may be back to defend his title very soon.
UFC replaced Nurmagomedov with Justin Gaethje for headlining the May 9 event with Ferguson with the interim lightweight title on the line. Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is the most anticipated fight in recent times but unfortunately, the matchup never came to fruition, having been canceled on five separate occasions.
With the holy month of Ramadan now taking place, it was assumed that Nurmagomedov won't be back inside the Octagon anytime before September/October like the man himself stated earlier. However, with UFC President Dana White announcing a title unification bout between Khabib and the winner of UFC 249's main event, 'The Eagle' seems to have had a change in plans.
"I will smash all of them when its Khabibtime", says Nurmagomedov
Yesterday, on it's Instagram page, ESPN MMA put up a video of former fighter Chael Sonnen saying Nurmagomedov would not return until September, and the lightweight champion responded to the post saying that he will be ready to fight as early as July.
“I can fight anytime, Ramadan finish 23 may. July I’m gonna be ready. Stop talking about me, this is coronatime, when Khabibtime come I smash all of them.”
Nurmagomedov was unfairly criticized recently for pulling out of the UFC 249 headliner against Ferguson. Ferguson even accused Khabib of intentionally pulling out of the fight and even called for the undefeated Dagestani fighter t retire. If Ferguson manages to get past Gaethje on May 9, we may finally be able to see one of the most anticipated lightweight matchups in UFC history.