Khabib Nurmagomedov has been out of action for two years due to injury, and the lightweight division is in a very different state than it was when he was last in the cage. The current champion is the last man Nurmagomedov defeated, Rafael dos Anjos, and now that the Russian’s UFC on Fox 19 fight has been scrapped, the champ wants to avenge that loss.
In a post to Instagram on Wednesday following news of Tony Ferguson’s injury removal, dos Anjos called for a title defense against Nurmagomedov at UFC 200 this summer.
Nurmagomedov was still hoping to remain on the UFC on Fox 19 card next week in Tampa, and it’s possible a fight gets booked for him, but he also may be willing to return in a title fight if the UFC will book the bout.
Penick’s Analysis: If the UFC thinks that’s a title fight worth making – and despite his two year absence the win over dos Anjos makes Nurmagomedov deserving – then it’s a realistic possibility. Of course, if Nurmagomedov can get a replacement opponent for next week simply to get back in the cage after such a long time out, that could be best for him right now. He could still turn around potentially for the July 9 event, or they can make that title fight later on in the summer. Whether he fights next week or not, the undefeated Russian is still one of the top fighters in the division, and once he can get himself back into the cage he can prove that yet again.
[Photo (c) Joe Camporeale via USA Today Sports]
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