When Khabib Nurmagomedov decided against retirement, he thought he’d be able to power through recovery from a rib injury to fight by Super Bowl weekend. Now, he admits that was unrealistic.
In an interview with Sportbox.ru in Russia, Nurmagomedov said rehab is starting to come to an end, but it’s been harder than he anticipated.
“At that moment [a few weeks ago], I thought that everything would be easier,” he said of his initial return prediction (transcribed by BloodyElbow.com). “Now I understand that February 6 – this is early. I’m one hundred percent sure that there will not be a fight because I can see how hard it is to recover after a rib injury.
“So by the end of December I will be in good health. And in the beginning of January, I will proceed with hard training. I will not accept the fight before March.”
The lightweight contender hasn’t fought since April of 2014, where he defeated now UFC Lightweight Champion Rafael dos Anjos to move to 22-0 on his career.
Penick’s Analysis: At least he’s got a more realistic idea of what’s still in store for him on his path to recovery. Hopefully he makes it to the cage this time around, as these injuries have continued to set him back time and again in the last year and a half. He was frustrated enough to consider retirement, so this almost has to be the time for him, because yet another injury setback could be devastating mentally. He’s one of the strongest potential contenders at 155 lbs., and the division is better with him as a part of it. If he makes it to a March or April fight, that confidence gained in just getting through a camp healthy enough to fight could be greatly beneficial in keeping him on track to a title fight.