Nurmagomedov hasn’t had a bout since Sept. 2019. The UFC lightweight champion was set to put his gold on the line against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 but travel restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis put a halt to those plans. At the time, Khabib insisted that he could’ve made it to the fight as long as he had a location but the UFC moved on to Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje for the interim title. Gaethje stopped Ferguson in the fifth round via TKO.
Dana White Says September Return For Khabib Isn’t Off The Table
Khabib had plans in place to return to action in July but his father’s health deteriorated. White then said “The Eagle” was looking to return in September but his father recently passed away. During a media scrum, White said that Khabib is being left alone to mourn (h/t BJPenn.com).
“No, I’m not messing with Khabib. I’m leaving him alone until he’s ready to talk and I’m letting him mourn and do what he has to do. I reached out to him the day of and I haven’t heard back from him since,” Dana White said.
With that said, White still believes a September return for Khabib is possible.
“I don’t think it’s off the table,” White told the media at Fight Island on Tuesday. “I’m just waiting to hear from him.”
If Khabib is ready to roll at that time, then a title unification bout against Gaethje will be the plan. Nurmagomedov has been perfect in his pro MMA career, going 28-0 up to this point. Gaethje has looked better than ever in his last four outings. “The Highlight” is on a four-fight winning streak, stopping Tony Ferguson, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick in that span.