It will be almost one year since Khabib Nurmagomedov last saw action in the UFC. And through all his uncertainties due to health issues, he is now determined to make up for lost time.
The undefeated 155-pounder appeared on Monday’s episode of The MMA Hour to announce that is back on track with his training, and is targeting UFC 219 for his return date.
“We have almost 12 weeks, 11 weeks before UFC 219,” Nurmagomedov said (transcript via MMA Fighting). “And now is the beginning a very interesting moment in my life. I hope UFC gives me a championship fight. End of the year, I want to take everything back. Attention, belts; I want to take everything. End of the year, I want to fix everything. And we’ll see what happens.”
“But first of all, I think UFC has to make the fight, Conor versus Nate Diaz 3, and after, me and Tony.”
He also made it clear that his intent to fight “El Cucuy” is not about monetary gains, but because it was simply the better option to make.
“Because, my opinion, I think Tony Ferguson is the real champion. That’s why,” Nurmagomedov said. “I don’t think, if I fight versus Tony Ferguson, this is an interim belt. Officially, yes. But people want to see me versus Tony Ferguson. I think this is a much better fight, for everything. If I beat Tony Ferguson and take the interim championship belt — Conor’s the official champion, but he’s not the people’s champion.”
“My opinion, I have to fight with Tony. All of my fans, everybody wants this fight. For me, everything isn’t about money. For me, it’s what my father wants, my team, my management team, my friends. This is more important for me.”
A headliner fight for UFC 219 has yet to be finalized, but it has been scheduled to take place on December 30th at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.