Nurmagomedov Eyes September Return To The Octagon
While a location wasn’t sent, a return date was by the UFC Lightweight Champion. Khabib Nurmagomedov is looking at later in the year for a potential UFC title fight.
Posting on his own Instagram account, Khabib (28-0) discussed the idea of September as an ideal return from hiatus. Via google translate, Khabib stated:
“But until September, it’s not too far, though it’s hard to believe that everything will end by September, but yet one serious person said: that in the peaceful time you have to prepare for war.”
Khabib is referring to the coronavirus, which has affected the entire world. The sports world has been forced to postpone all major events as a result. The UFC attempted to continue on with UFC 249, but Khabib backed out and returned to Russia to quarantine. The country shut down due to the coronavirus, as did the United States. One of Khabib’s main reasons was a lack of location for the event, which concerned him.
It was only after Khabib backed out did Dana White and the UFC announce a location for the event. Justin Gaethje ended up being the replacement opponent to face Tony Ferguson. It was all for naught, as UFC 249 was postponed a few days later. Dana has insisted that “Fight Island” will continue to happen, and that Khabib would be able to fight on any card.
If fights were to still take place, the UFC would try and get something going in May. Khabib, however, has always been strict and loyal when it comes to Ramadan, which falls this year from April 23 to May 23. He would then need a month+ to prepare following recovery. This is if everything goes according to plan.
Khabib’s last fight was in September, beating Dustin Poirier via submission at UFC 242. He hasn’t gone a year since fights since facing Michael Johnson at UFC 205 in November 2016 and Edson Barboza at UFC 219 in December 2017.