Khabib is the reigning UFC lightweight champion. He hasn’t competed since Sept. 2019. Nurmagomedov wanted to return in July after not being able to face Tony Ferguson after the UFC moved on to an interim title bout. Justin Gaethje ended up defeating Ferguson but the fight with Khabib isn’t happening this month. That’s because Nurmagomedov’s father, Abdulmanap, passed away.
Daniel Cormier Discusses Khabib’s Next Move After Father’s Passing
Cormier and Khabib are teammates at American Kickboxing Academy. “DC” spoke to ESPN’s Ariel Helwani and he admitted he doesn’t see Khabib fighting in 2020 despite manager Ali Abdelaziz’s insistence that “The Eagle” will fight Justin Gaethje before 2020 comes to a close (h/t BJPenn.com).
“I don’t think he’s fighting this year, honestly,” Cormier said on DC & Helwani. “And it’s going to take a lot of strength from a very strong man for Khabib to be back in the Octagon, ever, I think.”
Cormier went on to say that Khabib’s father meant the world to him and even if “The Eagle” returns, he’s unsure how long he’ll stick around.
“I just know what Abdulmanap meant to him, I know that this was their journey together. I hope he fights, but I don’t know. Like I said, he’s going to have to muster up a lot of strength for an already strong person to go out there and do it. And if he does, I just don’t know how long he’ll be around.”
UFC president Dana White has said he’s leaving Khabib alone as he mourns the loss of his father. While the UFC boss hasn’t ruled out the September time frame for Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje, he isn’t rushing things. The initial reported plan was for that matchup to take place at UFC 253 but obviously things are up in the air.