Manager: “Khabib Nurmagomedov Wants To Fight In September, December And April”
The question continues to linger – what’s next for UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov. Or to be more precise, when is the Dagestani mauler returning to the cage? Since being suspended for instigating the melee after UFC 229 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission, Nurmagomedov has stated that he is happy to sit out for 12 months, and is in no hurry to return to the Octagon.
However, with the likes of Tony Ferguson, Donald Cerrone and Dustin Poirier waiting in the wings, the champion will have to fight sometime in 2019. His manager, Ali Abdelaziz recently appeared on The MMA Hour, and talked about what’s next for the lightweight champion.
“We’re working on it”, Ali said about a title unification fight with Poirier (transcript via MMA Fighting). “We’re going through a couple things, I think it’s going well. But the fight is not finalized yet. That would be a good date for Khabib to come back. Khabib, he gave me — he wants to fight September, December, and April. These are the three dates he gave me. I let the UFC know. Poirier is a great opponent. You have a lot of lightweight fights coming up. You have (Donald) Cerrone and (Tony) Ferguson coming up. You have this guy Conor (McGregor) — but it’s funny, because if Conor went out there and got a win, he might over-leap all these guys again.
“It’s a promotion, right? At the end of the day, [McGregor] wanted a rematch. We said no. Khabib said no, he said it publicly: ‘No, he’s not getting a rematch. You’ve got to go out there and just get a win.’ … Everybody knows that’s the biggest money fight you can make, and the UFC’s a company to make money. Conor got a rematch every time he lost, right, outside Floyd. But in a way, I don’t think he deserves it.
“But there’s levels to this. I like Poirier a lot as a person. I know him, I trained with him before. I know him personally, we stayed together for almost a month, trained the whole month. He’s a great guy, he’s a great opponent. He’s dangerous, he has a lot of volume. But listen, 27 people tried, 27 failed. You’re going to get put on your back, you’re going to panic, you’re going to get outworked, and you’re probably going to get finished.”