Rumours are circulating that the UFC offered to pay Khabib Nurmagomedov to train and prepare for UFC 205 as a possible injury replacement for either Conor or Alvarez. According to the same rumours Khabib was unwilling to do this and wanted an opponent. Which explains why his fight with Michael Johnson was squeezed onto what appears to have been an already complete and stacked card.
According to sources, the UFC floated the idea of paying Khabib just to stay ready in case of main event injury, but he wanted an opponent.
— Brett Okamoto (@bokamotoESPN) September 27, 2016
This begs the question, if the UFC is starting to pay fighters to stay ready in case of injury, who else have they made that offer to for 205?
It shouldn’t be a surprise that the UFC would seek to have a contingency plan in case a last minute replacement in the main event is needed. After all it wasn’t that long ago that a failed drug test by Jon Jones caused an upheaval to the UFC 200 main event. In that case a 41-year old Anderson Silva seemingly came in on days notice to fight Daniel Cormier. Silva was most likely not secretely preparing to be a last minute replacement for the show, as he requested the fight only be 3 rounds (and not for the title) suggesting he didn’t feel he was in great shape.
Khabib Nurmagomedov At UFC 205
Khabib was upset following the announcement that it would be Conor McGregor fighting Eddie Alvarez for the title, as he has been the consensus #1 contender in the division for some time now.
A spot was offered to Khabib on the UFC 200 show back in June, but the #1 ranked lightweight had to turn it down for religious reasons. Nurmagomedov is a Sunni Muslim born in Dagestan, and he observes Ramadan. During Ramadan observers are required to fast without food or water from dawn till dusk over the course of 30 days. UFC 200 happened to fall on Ramadan, so Khabib turned down the bout.
Khabib reportedly turned down a fight with Donald Cerrone for the same reasons 2 years ago.
Despite being booked against Michael Johnson at UFC 205, Khabib could still be moved to the main event if either Conor or Alvarez go down. It does make you wonder who else the UFC has waiting in the wings for the big card however.