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Visa issues forced Rustam Khabilov to train in Dagestan instead of Jackson MMA for Adriano Martins

UFC lightweight Rustam Khabilov delves into the visa issues that kept him out of the octagon for the past 8 months.

Josh Holmberg-USA TODAY Sports

International fighters are sometimes faced with an entirely different battle outside the octagon - one that requires them to overcome bureaucracy and difficult government procedures to obtain a work visa.

It is a task that is more difficult for some than others; UFC lightweight Rustam Khabilov has been waiting since last June to get through the process.

"My problems with getting my visa are over," Khabilov said. "After this fight I will return to the gym and Albuquerque and resume my work with my training. I will be training again with my coaches Brandon Gibson, Greg Jackson and Mike Winkeljohn very soon. For this camp I trained in Russia with my old coach."

Khabilov's most recent fight was against former lightweight champion Benson Henderson, whom he lost to in the fourth round via submission. It was a promising display from the Dagestan-native, yet he was forced to remain on the sidelines thereafter awaiting his papers.

"I can't wait to be back inside the Octagon. I haven't had a fight for a long time, but I'm ready to come back. It's great to fight again and I feel very good."

With the process complete, Khabilov now looks forward to embarking on a string of impressive victories before getting his shot at the lightweight title. Prior to his loss to Henderson, Khabilov had compiled a 3-0 record in the UFC, including an impressive victory over the durable Jorge Masvidal. He believes he is more than capable of securing a spot in the upper echelon of the division before earning an opportunity to claim the championship gold.

"I'm not going to stop," Khabilov said. "I'm going straight for the belt. Right now, I need to keep my focus on this next fight. Yes, I did lose my last fight against Henderson. I won some rounds, but I lost on the ground because I got tired. I went back to the gym and I trained harder to make myself better and I'm going after the belt."

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