Current UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is still on the sidelines going through his suspension from the Nevada State Athletic Commission, but according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz, the champion plans for a busy schedule upon his return.
While speaking to Brett Okamoto of ESPN, Abdelaziz said Nurmagomedov would like to fight three times over the next 11 months, and a very specific timeline was laid out for these plans. That given timeline would see Khabib Nurmagomedov defend his title in September, then in December, and in April if former welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre would like to make his return.
“He gave me very specific instructions. He said he wants to fight Sept. 7 and again in December. And if [former welterweight champion] Georges St-Pierre can figure things out with the UFC by April, that’s the deal. He would like that fight in April.”(Quote courtesy of ESPN)
As of now the current plan is for Nurmagomedov to fight current interim champion Dustin Poirier in September, for a rumored schedule fight to take place at UFC 242 in Abu Dhabi on September 7, although no official announcement has been made for the title unification fight.
Being the UFC’s lightweight champion also comes with plenty of contenders for Khabib Nurmagomedov who has heard his name called out by plenty of the top-contending UFC lightweights since his last title defense at UFC 229. Abdelaziz address the stacked division filled with contenders, saying once the champion returns, the plan is to “keep the division going” and take on all title challengers, although he has his focus on a showdown with St-Pierre in April of next year.
“The lightweight division has a lot of contenders, and we need to keep the division going. Khabib has done this before. He fought [Edson Barboza], Al [Iaquinta] and Conor [McGregor] in less than one year [from December 2017 to October 2018]. If it can be Georges in April, he would love that fight. If not, it can be any contender.”
Nurmagomedov is currently undergoing a suspension for his role in a post-fight melee between members of his team and former champion Conor McGregor after “The Eagle” defeated McGregor by way of fourth-round submission back at UFC 229.
While McGregor has called for a rematch numerous times against Nurmagomedov, the current champion seems to have his focus on the top contenders of the lightweight division, and Abdelaziz has ideas for what “The Notorious” should do next if he returns to the UFC.
As the UFC awaits the return of their lightweight champion, Khabib Nurmagomedov seems set on staying active and defending his title, with the first fight expected to come against Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 on September 7, later this year.