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Khabib admits rib injury recovery is ‘hard,’ won’t take fight before March

UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov revealed that he will resume light training in December but won’t take a fight before March if all goes as planned.

David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Several weeks ago, Khabib Nurmagomedov was once again forced to withdraw from a scheduled bout following another injury suffered during training camp. Unlike his previous two knee injures, this one was a broken rib.

As a result, the UFC lightweight bowed out of a highly anticipated title eliminator bout against Tony Ferguson. Many expected that a win over Ferguson would propel Khabib towards a long-awaited title shot, especially considering his previous win against current champ Rafael dos Anjos.

Yet despite his recent tribulations, Khabib still found time to conduct a seminar in Moscow alongside Rashid Magomedov and Ali Bagautinov to promote the UFC-Reebok partnership. Media appearances followed where Khabib delved into his recovery process.

"Now I'm going through rehabilitation in Moscow, but it is coming to an end," Khabib told "I took a vacation throughout November, and in December I will slowly begin to regain form."

The Dagestani native initially claimed he would be fit to return to the Octagon at UFC 196 on Feb. 6.  However, after going though several weeks of rehabilitation, Khabib soon realized that his recovery would be a lengthier process.

"At that moment [a few weeks ago], I thought that everything would be easier," he explained. "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."