If you’ve enjoyed watching Khabib Nurmagomedov maul and ragdoll his opponents as he’s worked his way up the UFC lightweight ranks, then you’ll be happy to hear “The Eagle” has been given the green light to fight again.
If you recall, the UFC had plans to match Nurmagomedov up against fellow contender Donald Cerrone at UFC 178, however, the undefeated fighter injured his knee and has been sidelined since. Cerrone ended up fighting Eddie Alvarez at the event, and scored a UD win.
Well, evidently Nurmagomedov’s recovery has gone well, as the 22-0 fighter (yes, that’s a record which deserves a double take) recently announced via Twitter:
— khabib nurmagomedov (@TeamKhabib) September 30, 2014
It will be interesting to see what the UFC elects to do with Nurmagomedov, now that he’s set to return. If you’re unaware, the sambo guru has gone 6-0 since joining the UFC, and has defeated established vets like Pat Healy, Abel Trujillo and Gleison Tibau along the way.
The lightweight’s biggest win took place in April, when he outscored Rafael dos Anjos for the unanimous decision win at UFC on FOX 11. This is why Nurmagomedov is currently ranked #2 in the UFC’s 155 division, and dos Anjos is #3.
Nurmagomedov has been doing his best to lock up a title fight recently, by relaying his outstanding record and calling out champion Anthony Pettis. Case in point, recently made the following comments about Pettis while appearing on “The MMA Hour“:
“I am no good for his style. My pressure, my wrestling, my top control, it’s no good for him. He said he wants to fight Nate Diaz. Nate Diaz lose many times in the UFC, and I am undefeated. I am the next contender. But he’s not saying ‘Khabib is good, Khabib is undefeated, Khabib is 6-0,’ he’s not saying nothing. I think he [doesn’t] want this fight.”
Although many folks believe Nurmagomedov would be a stiff test for Pettis or Gilber Melendez–those two are set to throw down on December 6th–, and that he deserves a title shot, it may not happen just yet. Often the UFC has been reluctant to hand out title shots to fighters who have been sidelined for a while. By the time Nurmagomedov is ready to go again, it will have been almost a year since he’s fought.
In addition, Nurmagomedov’s style doesn’t get the ‘just stand-and-bang’ crowd buzzing very much, so the UFC could decide they need one more fight to really build “The Eagle” up.
If Donald Cerrone gets one more fight in before the year is up like he hopes, and gets another big win, then he could jump over Nurmagomedov for a title shot. We should find out soon enough…