Khabib Nurmagomedov is yet to compete in 2019 yet he’s remained the talk of the UFC’s lightweight division, and rightfully so.
The Eagle is currently serving a nine-month suspension following his role in the infamous UFC 229 post-fight brawl.
Following his neck-crank submission victory over the now ‘retired’ Conor McGregor, the dangerous bear-grappling Dagestan native took aim at Bellator’s Dillon Danis – a stunt which also saw him fined a huge $500,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC).
The suspension would see the UFC lightweight champion eligible to compete on July 6, 2019. However, Khabib himself has mentioned publicly that he plans to sit out much longer and has no plans to fight in Nevada ever again.
While he’s sitting out, the UFC isn’t planning to halt the progression of the lightweight division.
With Tony Ferguson battling some personal issues, El Cucuy won’t be in the title picture right now. Instead, Dustin Poirier will battle featherweight king Max Holloway to determine the interim light champion.
The winner is then expected to face Nurmagomedov.
Khabib did mention that he was eyeing up a November return in New York. However, UFC president Dana White has confirmed in an interview on the UFC Unfiltered podcast that the lightweight champion is confirmed to be fighting in September.
According to Bloody Elbow, he said: “He’ll be back in September.
“It’s one of the things with him anyways, he’s on suspension and then he doesn’t fight during Ramadan. That puts him at September.”
With a September return confirmed, it gives the winner of Blessed vs. The Diamond enough time to recover and train for arguably the biggest test of either fighter’s career.
If White is confident about the date of Nurmagomedov’s return, then one thing fans are going to be in agreement with is the UFC’s haste in creating an interim title for no apparent reason.
Holloway and Poirier are the obvious names. Then you have the Nate Diaz insults on social media and even Ben Askren campaigning for a fight at 16b lbs.
There are plenty of possibilities for Khabib this year.
Who do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight in his supposed return to the Octagon this September? Have YOUR say in the comments section below.