Khabib Nurmagomedov Targeting September Return, Puts Division On Notice
Undefeated UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov is anxious to return to UFC action after defeating Rafael Dos Anjos in April, but is looking ahead to a potential bout in September. The Eagle’s manager spoke to MMAJunkie.com about who he would like to see his client fight.
“Khabib is ready to go from September on. He had the Ramadan committed, so he couldn’t accept any fights.”
The Dagestan native celebrates Ramadan, and as a result is unable to fight during the summer months.
“I was really hoping for Ben Henderson,” Constantino said. “He destroyed Rafael dos Anjos, then they gave him to Ben. What else is left for Khabib? He’ll fight anybody. He made it very clear he’ll fight anybody you put in front of him. I’m waiting to see what they have planned for him. My phone’s not going to ring and you’ll hear a ‘No’ on my end. He’ll fight anyone.
“Whoever they propose, he’ll fight. I think he’s clearly, clearly proven himself and that he’s ready to move up in challenges toward the belt. He’s undefeated for the length of his career and you’ll see in the UFC, he has finished people. He has manhandled the guys he’s won decisions on. Pat Healy, he picked him over his head and walked across the octagon and slammed him. RDA, he destroyed him. Thiago Tavares, he knocked him out. He’s an animal. He deserves an opportunity to keep marching toward the belt.”
Donald Cerrone and Jim Miller, two elite level lightweights are set to go to war in July, and there has been talk of Nurmagomedov potentially facing the winner, however his manager, who also manages Jim Miller isn’t a fan of that.
“I would hate for it to happen,” Constantino said of a potential Nurmagomedov vs. Miller matchup. “However, it is part of the nature of the beast. The reality of it is, those two fighters are both ranked behind Khabib. That’s why it made sense to do Khabib and Ben Henderson. They’re both higher ranked. You never want to take a step backwards in the rankings because then you put yourself into in a tough position. You always want to fight the guy ahead of you.”
With his undefeated record it is understandable as to why some fighters are cautious to fight Khabib, however his manager says Nurmagomedov won’t turn down a fight.
“I made it clear: Khabib will fight anyone; they just need to get him the right offer,” Constantino said. “The lightweight division is log-jammed, the champion isn’t active, so it’s time to just get these guys fights and keep them moving.”