The UFC brass will not be rushing Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return to the Octagon.
Nurmagomedov is the UFC lightweight champion. He’s due for a showdown with interim titleholder Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov was eager to get back to action and even said he could return as soon as July. Those plans changed when Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap, became ill. While Abdulmanap showed signs of improvement, he eventually passed away in a Moscow hospital due to complications from COVID-19.
Dana White Says Khabib Is Being Left Alone To Mourn Loss Of His Father
During a media scrum ahead of UFC 251, UFC president Dana White said that Khabib is being given time to mourn the passing of his father (h/t MMAFighting).
“It’s terrible,” White said about Abdulmanap’s passing. “We feel horrible for Khabib and how much he loves his father and how close they were.
“[We’re] just giving him time to mourn and do whatever he needs to do. We’re not bothering him at all right now. We’re just leaving him alone.”
“The Eagle” hasn’t competed since Sept. 2019. He defeated Dustin Poirier via submission to successfully defend the UFC lightweight championship. Nurmagomedov was set to take on Tony Ferguson in April but travel restrictions due to the coronavirus pandemic put a halt to those plans. This allowed Justin Gaethje to swoop in for an interim title bout with Ferguson. Gaethje took full advantage with a fifth-round TKO victory over “El Cucuy.”
Those within the MMA community have sent their condolences to Khabib during this difficult time. It’s no secret that Khabib and Abdulmanap were close. Khabib’s coach Javier Mendez often reminds “The Eagle” of “father’s plan” in-between rounds. Abdulmanap’s is also credited with the explosion of MMA talent from Dagestan.
MMA News will keep you updated on Khabib Nurmagomedov and his fighting future as more information becomes available.