UFC Lightweight Champion has Laid Out His Plan to Return and Defend His Title Later This Year…
The rise of Khabib Nurmagamedov has been incredible. Hailing from Dagestan, Russia, it’s an immensely tough part of the world. However, the challenges that he faced as a youngster have hardened him into one of the UFC’s most feared opponents. He’s remarkably unbeaten, with a ludicrous record of 25-0.
‘The Eagle’ took the belt at UFC 223, when he defeated Al Iaquinta. That fight came at the end of a wild and wacky week which saw two opponents pull out on Khabib. Then, of course, there was the whole Conor McGregor bus attack situation, of which the Russian was intended to be the direct target.
With all of this wildness behind him, it’s fair to say the poor guy needed time to breath and let it sink in that he is the UFC lightweight champion. Now he has released an exciting update on social media, as he discusses his plans for the immediate future.
The week of UFC 223 will show you just how good a professional Nurmagamedov is. Tony Ferguson was his first opponent. However, he tore his LCL, leaving Max Holloway as a replacement. Things got worse when Holloway was forced to stop cutting weight on medical advice. The entire event was falling apart.
However, thanks to Conor McGregor’s bus attack, Anthony Pettis was left without an opponent. The UFC could not agree on terms with him and so approached Paul Felder instead. However, the NYSAC would not let an unranked fighter fight for the title, so finally Iaquinta was selected.
Meanwhile, the whole beef between McGregor and Nurmagamedov’s respective teams had escalated. After the Russian and his crew intimidated McGregor’s training partner Artem Lobov in a hotel, McGregor flew over 20 of his ‘friends’ to attack a media bus carrying Nurmagamedov and a whole bunch of other fighters. We all know what happened there.
Nurmagamedov laid bare his future plans in an exciting Instagram post. He outlined his next potential opponent. He explained the tension within the division and how there are a number of contenders he could face. Khabib wrote:
“Lightweight division is the most competitive division in #UFC. At this moment, atmosphere is very heated: there is Conor and Tony, Poirier, Lee and Alvarez, all of them are good.
Fight with any of these guys would be very interesting and competitive. I never choose opponent, fought with any fighter who was offered me to fight, and I’m not going to change that.”
The most natural opponent would be Conor Mcgregor. The Irishman is currently in limbo because he has a whole load of legal trouble coming up, including a trial in June. Until the UFC knows exactly what is going to happen there, they won’t make any judgment calls.
“I’m coming back November – December to defend my belt,” Khabib said. “Whoever @ufc decide to fight me with, I’ll sign.”
‘The Eagle’ is currently taking part in the Muslim festival of Ramadan, so a late return in 2018 was expected. This will give time for Tony Ferguson to recover, Conor McGregor to sort his life out, or at the very least, another lightweight contender to emerge.