UFC: Khabib Opens Up On Why He Doesn’t Fight During Ramadan

Khabib Nurmagomedov will be looking to defend his UFC lightweight title for the third time against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249. The event is scheduled for April 18th, which is only one week prior to the start of Ramadan.

Muslims all around the world fast throughout Ramadan, which means they cannot eat or drink during daylight hours for 30 days. It is a way for them to stay devoted to the faith, exercise self-discipline and feel more compassion for the poor. Although we have seen Muslim fighters perform during this time of the year (Belal Muhammad comes to mind), it is extremely hard due to the physical exhaustion caused by fasting while training.

Khabib, who has been prone to injuries in some parts of his career, is well aware of the risks that come with that. Talking at Dominance MMA’s Media Day last weekend in Las Vegas (as transcribed by MMA Junkie), the UFC lightweight champion opened up on why he doesn’t compete during this sacred month.

“Ramadan, I take like a little bit off training – but I’m still training, too. I spend this time with family, parents, go to the mosque, pray, and day [to] night fasting. And, of course, we’re training, too.

“It’s very hard and very dangerous, too. All day, you don’t drink and you don’t eat. Injuries can come. That’s why we [don’t have] too much contact, and without sparring. It’s still hard.”

Because of these reasons, Khabib said that he asks the UFC to schedule his fights either before or after Ramadan.

“After Ramadan, we need minimum 45 days to recover – athletes, not [non-athletes] because we compete at a high level, and that’s why we have to watch everything.

“After Ramadan, 40, 45 days we need recovery because times change, a lot of things like food, how you eat, when you eat. A lot of things change. We need one and a half months for recovery.”

Coronavirus permitting, Khabib Nurmagomedov is set to defend his UFC lightweight title against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 on April 18th, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York.


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