— Chamatkar Sandhu (@SandhuMMA) August 16, 2017
Yesterday evening, we learned that streaking lightweight contender Tony Ferguson will battle seventh-ranked lightweight contender Kevin Lee – not the undefeated Khabib Nurmagomedov – for the interim lightweight title at UFC 216 this October 7. Shortly thereafter, UFC President Dana White explained the reasoning behind this matchup, explaining that Nurmagomedov isn’t going to be healthy enough to fight in time for the October 7 card.
“Khabib’s not ready,” stated Dana White when asked what happened to Nurmagomedov. “Yeah, he had surgery and he’s just not ready. You know, so, it is what it is.”
Interestingly enough, this news came just shortly after Nurmagomedov shared a video of himself drilling some absolutely hellacious looking ground-and-pound in the practice room. Check that video out at the top of this post.
As MMA reporter Chamatkar Sandhu points out, Nurmagomedov doesn’t exactly look like a badly injured fighter – and certainly not one who couldn’t be ready by October 7.
Nurmagomedov’s actual condition, of course, is impossible to deduce from this short video. He may well be more hurt than this footage reflects. But if Nurmagomedov is indeed in fighting shape, as this video implies, why isn’t he fighting Ferguson for the interim title at UFC 216?
Perhaps the UFC no longer trusts him with big fights after his latest last-minute withdrawal, which saw him pull out of a planned bout with Ferguson mere hours ahead of fight time. Or perhaps, Nurmagomedov is being saved for something else… a bigger fight… say, a fight with Conor McGregor in Russia, once the Irishman’s boxing match with Floyd Mayweather is in the rear-view. Food for thought…
Do you think the UFC should have waited for Khabib Nurmagomedov to recover, then paired him with Tony Ferguson?
This article first appeared on BJPenn.com on 8/16/2017.