It looks as though Khabib Nurmagomedov will never fight in Las Vegas again.
ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported Tuesday that the UFC lightweight champion is “done” fighting in Nevada, according to his manager Ali Abdelaziz, after Tuesday’s Nevada Athletic Commission (NAC) meeting.
Nurmagomedov was suspended nine months (which could be reduced to six) and fined $500,000 for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl last October.
It’s not his own punishment he’s overly upset about, however, according to Helwani’s report. “The Eagle” isn’t happy with the one-year suspensions and $25,000 fines given to his teammates Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov for their roles in the infamous brawl, which followed Khabib’s submission win over Conor McGregor.
Per the report, Khabib does not plan to return to the cage until the suspensions of his teammates are over. Tukhugov and Abubakar are eligible to fight Oct. 6, 2019, retroactive to the day of UFC 229. Khabib, however, is technically eligible to fight July 6 — and that could be changed to April if he agrees to enroll in an anti-bullying program.
That said, Khabib wants to fight at New York City’s Madison Square Garden in November. Though an MSG show has not been announced for November as of yet, the UFC has hosted one in that time-frame every year since MMA was legalized in New York.
It isn’t clear whom Khabib wants to fight next, though UFC president Dana White has said a McGregor rematch could happen in 2019. A fight against Tony Ferguson — which has been scheduled countless times since 2015 — seems to make the most sense, but nothing has been discussed.
Khabib won the lightweight title last April with a one-sided decision over Ali Iaquinta, then defended it for the first time against McGregor. Khabib tapped McGregor in the fourth round.