Fight fans will have to wait a while before seeing UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov again. “The Eagle” was recently handed a nine-month suspension and $500,000 fine for his involvement in the post-UFC 229 brawl. However, his two teammates, Abubaker Nurmagomedov and Zubaira Tukhugov, were given one-year suspensions.
The 155-pound champion had the opportunity to reduce his own suspension to six months by participating in an anti-bullying campaign. Khabib has since turned that offer down, and instead plans to wait out his full suspension, and doesn’t plan on fighting until his teammates’ suspensions are up as well.
Dana White was asked about this in a recent interview with MMA Junkie. The UFC boss has yet to confirm with the Russian champ that he will, in fact, wait out until his teammates’ suspensions are up to fight. He has only heard the chatter online:
“I hear these things, but Khabib hasn’t told me that (he’s going to sit out),” White said. “I hear these things in the media and things like that. I haven’t heard it from Khabib, so when we talk, we’ll figure it out and we’ll see what happens.”
When Khabib does finally return to fight, White already knows who he thinks is deserving of the title opportunity. White believes No. 1-ranked Tony Ferguson is the most deserving of a title opportunity at this point. The UFC has tried to book Khabib vs. Ferguson four times before. Perhaps the fifth time will finally be a charm:
“Of course Tony deserves it,” White said. “He’s the No. 1 contender. He’s the guy. That’s the fight.”
What do you think about Khabib not wanting to return until his teammates’ suspensions are up?