Is There An Update On The Status Of Khabib Nurmagomedov?
While there are plenty of contenders within the UFC’s lightweight division, the status of its champion remains unknown. One thing is for sure: we have not seen the last of Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Recently, Khabib (28-0) lost his father Abdulmanap due to complications regarding COVID-19. it was a major blow for Khabib, who has had his father by his side during major fights of his over the last few years. The loss sparked rumors as to whether Khabib would hang up his gloves. Speaking with TMZ Sports, however, Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib’s manager, stated that Khabib will continue fighting.
“Khabib is not retiring,” Abdelaziz stated, via MMA Fighting. “Khabib has some goals, he has some things he wants to accomplish. You will see him before the end of the year. Now him and Dana (are) talking and me talking to the matchmakers and we’ll try to set a date. I’m sure Dana is gonna let everybody know when Khabib is gonna fight.
Due to the coronavirus, Nurmagomedov ended up returning to Russia to quarantine, canceling a bout between him and Tony Ferguson for the fourth time. Nurmagomedov last fight in September 2019, beating Dustin Poirier to unify the UFC Lightweight Title. The fight also took place on Yas Island. Before that, he faced Conor McGregor at UFC 242, beating him while also engaging in a post-fight brawl with McGregor and his team.
Rumors were going around that Khabib would face Justin Gaethje for the undisputed UFC Lightweight Title. This came after Gaethje beat Tony Ferguson at UFC 249.
“We have a blockbuster main event, him versus Justin Gaethje, two of the best lightweights in the world today and the recent era,” Abdelaziz went on to say. “We see what Khabib does to all his opponents. We see what Justin Gaethje did his last four opponents. He dismantled Tony Ferguson. He made him look like an absolute amateur and that’s the best two guys in the world. They’re gonna fight.”
With a date of September 19, UFC 253 in Las Vegas or “Fight Island” are the ideal locations. UFC President Dana White has stated he is willing to give Khabib as much time has he needs due to his father’s passing. That may be why the UFC is planning another potential main event in UFC Middleweight Champion Israel Adesanya v. Paulo Costa.
It is unknown if the UFC would provide Gaethje with another opponent while Khabib is away. Abdelaziz has dismissed Conor McGregor as a future opponent for either man. As to whether Khabib will be able to actually be ready and fight, Abdelaziz discussed the heart and determination of the Russian fighter.
“Khabib is a different breed too,” Abdelaziz stated. “Of course, he’s heartbroken. It’s his father, it’s his mentor, it’s his best friend, but at the end of the day, Khabib’s father had a legacy he wanted Khabib to accomplish. Khabib is a living legend and that’s where legend comes from, legends come from adversity, from death, from a lot of things. And that’s what Khabib does. He comes back from back surgery, from ACL surgery, from the death of his father. He’s gonna fight Justin Gaethje and they’re gonna put on a great display of martial arts, and we are the winners. The fans are the winners, the promotion are the winners. It’s gonna be a blockbuster fight card, for sure.”