An important lightweight bout has been penciled in for UFC 165.
Contenders Pat Healy and Khabib Nurmagomedov have verbally agreed to meet at the Sept. 21 event in Toronto, MMAFighting.com confirmed with sources close to the event. According to those same sources, the fighters have yet to sign bout agreements.
The fight was first reported by Valetudo.ru.
The veteran Healy (29-16, 1 NC) defeated Jim Miller via submission at UFC 159, however, his successful return to the UFC was tainted after he tested positive for marijuana following the fight and was suspended for three months by the New Jersey State Athletic Control Board. As a result, Healy's win was changed to a no contest, and he lost the opportunity to earn $130,000 in fight night bonuses. His suspension expires on July 27.
"When you mess up, all you can do is step up and own it," Healy said on The MMA Hour after the fight.. "I wish I could blame someone else, but it's my own fault. It's my own bad choices. So, I gotta be a man about this. It sucks and it's embarrassing and it's not something I want my name involved with it, but it is what it is now and I have to be a man about it."
The 24-year-old Nurmagomedov (20-0) has looked impressive in first four UFC fights. He had been campaigning for a fight against B.J. Penn, but he'll have to settle for one of Penn's training partners.
UFC 165, headlined by Jon Jones vs. Alexander Gustafsson for the UFC light heavyweight title, will take place at the Air Canada Centre.