29-Year-Old UFC Lightweight 24-0-0
October 27, 2017 Khabib Nurmagomedov News
RotoWire Fantasy Analysis
Nurmagomedov (back) will face off against Edson Barboza at UFC 219 in Las Vegas on Dec. 30, Guilherme Cruz of MMAFighting.com reports.
Nurmagomedov will make his long-awaited return following a surgical procedure on his back over the summer. Although he was planning on coming back for this specific Fight Night, it's a good sign regarding the status of his back that he's able to commit to a bout against a legit opponent. The last time Nurmagomedov was partaking in the festivities was at UFC 205 last November, where he dropped Michael Johnson via submission (kimura) during the third round of their fight in New York City. Following that affair, he dealt with the back injury and also a weight management problem that forced him out of a bout against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209. On the other end, Barboza is coming off shoulder surgery that has kept him out of action for most of the year. His last fight came against Beneil Darisuh, which he won via KO (flying kick) in early March in Fortaleza, Brazil.
Khabib Nurmagomedov: Past News Updates ( ▲ View most recent update )
Fantasy AnalysisThe hope is for Nurmagomedov to face the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee, who are fighting at UFC 216, but there's nothing official from the UFC to suggest that will ultimately come to fruition. Nurmagomedov was originally scheduled to face Ferguson at UFC 209, but Nurmagomedov had to cancel after being hospitalized with weight-cutting complications.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov had been in line to fight Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209, but the fight was scrapped after he was hospitalized for complications resulting from his weight cut. He now appears to be doing much better, though does not plan to book a fight before the Muslim observance of Ramadan, which lasts from May 26 to June 25 in the U.S. Once that period of fasting is complete, Khabib will seek a title fight in the months of August or September. UFC brass will likely try to make another interim bout, as that timeline falls right within the range of when current champion Conor McGregor hopes to take on Floyd Mayweather in a boxing match.
Fantasy AnalysisAccording to Luke Thomas of MMAFighting.com, Nurmagomedov was admitted to the hospital earlier this week due to weight management issues. He was later released, but was not medically cleared to fight. As a result, the fight will be scrapped entirely. It's the third time that a scheduled fight between the two lightweights has fallen through, as prior injuries have prevented this matchup from taking place in both 2015 and 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov and UFC brass remain hopeful they will be able to strike a deal for a fight against Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 in Las Vegas, though nothing has yet come to fruition. Ferguson and the UFC seem to be far apart on the financial component, an issue that was made public to the point of Nurmoagomedov offering to personally cover the difference. Khabib surely doesn't need an opponent to train, however, and will begin his fight camp with his sights set on UFC 209 regardless. There's not exactly a line of fighters waiting to face Khabib, who has been dominant since his return last April, though names like Nate Diaz would certainly draw interest from the fans.
Fantasy AnalysisAs great as Khabib's performance inside the cage was, and it was great, his post-fight promo was even better. It took about two minutes for Khabib to find a lane for a takedown, but as soon as he began to pressure Johnson, this fight was over. Nurmagomedov was credited with just two takedowns, but he ended up with 8:35 worth of control time and he connected on 140/190 (74%) total strikes, almost all of which came from top position. It's difficult to see any 155-pounder on the planet being able to handle the constant pressure that Khabib applies. The toughness of Johnson was the only reason this fight lasted as long as it did. In his post-fight interview with Joe Rogan, Nurmagomedov proceeded to bash both Conor McGregor and the Irish fans. And while his words didn't go over well at a packed MSG, it's difficult to argue that Khabib doesn't deserve the next shot at the UFC Lightweight Championship. The only thing working against him is his inactivity of late due to injuries.
Fantasy AnalysisThe odds are at least 50/50 and probably considerably better that Khabib will fight for the UFC Lightweight Championship some time during the next 12 months. Nurmagomedov has fought just two times in the last three years due to injury, but he is dominant every single time he steps into the cage. No matter what the opposition throws at him, Khabib seems to have the answer. Johnson is a very good opponent, but Nurmagomedov appears to be on a different level all together.
Fantasy AnalysisWhat started as speculation Tuesday morning finally materialized by the end of the day. Nurmagomedov may not have gotten his wish for a lightweight title shot granted, but he'll still fight on what is arguably the promotion's biggest card of all time. A victory for the undefeated 28-year-old here would all but guarantee Khabib the next lightweight title opportunity. Given his overall resume, standup skills, stamina and sneaky submission game, Nurmagomedov should enter as a favorite.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov had originally hoped to fight lightweight champion Eddie Alvarez on the New York card, but those plans were shut down when it was announced late Monday night that Alvarez would instead fight Conor McGregor. "The Eagle" certainly has a case for a lightweight title shot in his future, as he is undefeated (23-0) in professional fights. His downfall has been his health, which has limited him to just one bout since April 2014 -- a convincing TKO victory over Darrell Horcher. A potential matchup against Johnson, where he would likely be a big favorite, would keep Nurmagomedov sharp until he gets his title opportunity.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was a perfect night for The Eagle. He was able to return to action, pick up an easy victory, and shake off some of the octagon rust that has plagued him for nearly two years. Khabib's UFC career has been marred by injury, but it truly wouldn't be a stretch to call him quite possibly the best lightweight on earth. Horcher was obviously overmatched after taking the fight on roughly a week's notice, but Nurmagomedov is going to overwhelm just about anyone he faces. Rafael dos Anjos has looked like a different man since winning the UFC Lightweight title 13 months ago, but RDA and Khabib fought in April 2014, a fight that Nurmagomedov completely dominated. If dos Anjos is able to successfully defend his title against Eddie Alvarez in July, a title fight between RDA and Khabib later this year seems inevitable.
Fantasy AnalysisWith a perfect 22-0 career record, the only thing holding Khabib back has been injuries. This fight was originally supposed to be Nurmagomedov v. Tony Ferguson, but Ferguson had to withdraw due to injury. Instead, Khabib gets a chance to stay on the card, remain fresh and unless something goes horribly wrong, dominate a completely overmatched opponent. Khabib has fought just once in the last two and a half years, although he looks like one of the best pound-for-pound fighters every time he is able to step into the octagon. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that he will fight for a title at some point in 2016.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov hasn't fought since April of 2014, but openly expressed his desire to stay on the card following the withdrawal of Ferguson. After negotiations with Donald Cerrone fell though, the UFC jumped in and signed Darrell Horcher on short notice, and the two will now fight at a catchweight of 160 pounds. Horcher, who owns a 12-1 professional record, is certainly no slouch. However, his experience in Bellator and Cage Fury may not necessarily have prepared him well for a fighter the caliber of Nurmagomedov.
Fantasy AnalysisThis is an incredibly tough break for Khabib, who has been sidelined with various injuries and hasn't fought since April of 2014. At 22-0, Nurmagomedov remains the No. 2 lightweight contender, but his health has always gotten in the way of a potential title opportunity. Now that he had finally been booked for a title eliminator, it's his opponent that will end up dropping out with an undisclosed ailment. Since the fight is just 11 days away, UFC brass will be unable to find an opponent on short notice, and will need to effectively scrap the bout. Khabib likely remains hungry after the long layoff, so look for a new fight to be booked in the near future, depending on the overall health of Ferguson.
Fantasy AnalysisIt was previously reported that Nurmagomedov had been contemplating retirement in light of his most recent injury, but that no longer appears to be the case. Instead, the No. 3 lightweight contender will eye a return to the octagon Super Bowl weekend.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov has had a promising professional career to date, as the lightweight fighter is 22-0 with six of those wins coming in UFC events. Currently the No. 3-ranked fighter in the weight class, Numagomedov hasn't seen the octagon since defeating current champion Rafael dos Anjos in April of 2014. A ribs injury forced him out of a scheduled bout against Tony Ferguson on Dec. 11, and appears to be the origin of his recent concerns, as Nurmagomedov apparently hadn't been doing "anything strenuous" leading up to suffering the ailment. If he follows through with these considerations, the promotion will lose a young (27 years old) up-and-comer with a realistic chance at contending for a belt.
Fantasy AnalysisUnbelievable. Khabib is quickly earning a reputation as one of the most injury-prone fighters in the sport. Nurmagomedov has been out since April 2014 due to a knee injury, but it is an injured rib that is forcing him to withdraw from the Ferguson fight. There is no word as to how long he will be sidelined. Khabib would likely be UFC lightweight champion by now if he just could have stayed healthy for the last year-plus. At the very least he would have earned a title shot if he could have just managed to step into the octagon.
Fantasy AnalysisKhabib hasn't fought since April 2014 due to a knee injury. He has suffered numerous setbacks and while it's clearly a good sign that the UFC announced the fight, you never really know if Khabib will be healthy by the time December rolls around. It is certainly possible that Nurmagomedov could be the UFC lightweight champion by now if he was just able to remain healthy over the last 16 months or so.
Fantasy AnalysisNurmagomedov is no stranger to setbacks with this current injury, so a possibility remains that we won't see him in the octagon again until 2016. Nonetheless, it's worth monitoring the progress of the undefeated, 26-year-old lightweight contender.
Fantasy AnalysisIaquinta is doing something right. All of his loud, brash interviews have led to a title contender asking to fight him. It's certainly possible, but you would think the UFC would want Nurmagomedov to fight someone ranked a bit higher than Iaquinta in his return. That being said, Khabib has been close to returning from his knee injury before and has suffered setbacks. There's no guarantee he'll be ready in October or November.
Fantasy AnalysisPoor Khabib just can't seem to catch a break. Due to a reoccurring knee injury, the former Russian Sambo World Champion and Judo black belt hasn't fought since April 19, 2014, where he absolutely dismantled current lightweight Rafael Dos Anjos. This is the second time that a reported fight against Cerrone has fallen apart due to a Nurmagomedov injury. Considering how badly he defeated Dos Anjos, Khabib was a popular pick to be the lightweight champion by the time 2015 came to an end, but that seems impossible right about now.