Khabib Nurmagomedov was suspended nine months and fined a whopping $500,000 by the Nevada State Athletic Commission for his involvement in the UFC 229 post-fight brawl. This would make him eligible to compete on July 6th, but the lightweight champion has gone on record in the past to say that he plans on sitting out much longer, and isn’t fighting in Nevada again.
A few months ago, Khabib mentioned November in New York as a possible return, but according to Dana White, he will be defending his title sooner.
“He’ll be back in September,” White said on the UFC Unfiltered podcast. “It’s one of the things with him anyways, he’s on suspension and then he doesn’t fight during Ramadan. That puts him at September.”
As for possible opponents, Tony Ferguson has been viewed as the number one contender for a while, but Khabib is more likely face the winner of Max Holloway vs Dustin Poirier. The pair will be fighting for the interim lightweight belt at UFC 236 this April, so barring any injuries, the winner should have enough time to prepare for a possible unification bout with Khabib this September.
If this target date pushes through, Khabib will just have been out of competition for less than a year. This begs the question, was that interim title really necessary?