Khabib Confirms UFC 242 Return Was Contingent on Teammates’ Reduced Suspension

Khabib Dana White
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Khabib Nurmagomedov will be returning to competition at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on Saturday, September 7, one month sooner than teammate Zubaira Tukhgov
USADA suspension was originally set to elapse. This, according to Khabib himself, is no coincidence, nor is it a coincidence that his cousin, PFL’s Abubakar Nurmagomedov, had his suspension reduced also.

Both Zubaira Tukhgov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov were suspended one year for their roles in the UFC 229 melee that occurred immediately following the main event between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor. They were also fined $25,000. The fine was paid in full, but the suspensions were not. At the UFC 243 press conference, Khabib explained why:

“This relationship, it was 50/50, little bit hard for someone and a little bit easy for someone,” Khabib said of his negotiations with the UFC for his return. “When UFC called me about fighting in Abu Dhabi, I told them I’m gonna fight with my friends, with my brothers. If not, we’re gonna wait for when (suspension) finish. We’re gonna come back together, all together. And UFC and Hunter, Dana, they did very good job. Thank you so much for them. And right now is, we’re clear. Everybody can fight. And September, we’re gonna come back.”

Khabib Nurmagomedov will be defending his lightweight championship against Dustin Poirier in the UFC 243 headliner. Zubaira Tukhgov is currently not booked on the card. Khabib did not specify whether his return was contingent on sharing the same card with his teammate or strictly the principle of knowing both Tukhgov or Abubakar were cleared to return.

What are your thoughts on Khabib’s revelations that he agreed to fight at UFC 242 on the condition that his teammates’ suspensions were cut short?