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Morning Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov now targeting first UFC title defense sooner than expected

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After winning the UFC lightweight title with a five-round decision over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223, Khabib Nurmagomedov said he wasn’t planning to return to fighting until November or December of this year. But now it looks like the champ will be back sooner than anticipated.

Speaking with his fans during a live chat Tuesday, Nurmagomedov announced that his team had begun talks with the UFC about returning to action this fall, either for the September or October pay-per-view event.

“I don’t know when it’s going to be but now we talk about this with the UFC,” Nurmagomedov said. “It’s going to be maybe 9 September or maybe 6 October. I don’t know about opponent - Conor [McGregor], GSP [Georges St-Pierre], whoever. It doesn’t matter, we’ll see. Next couple of weeks it’s going to be very fun because now we’re beginning to talk about my next fight with the UFC.”

UFC 229 is currently set for Oct. 6th in Las Vegas, Nev. There isn’t currently an event scheduled for Sept. 9th (which is a Sunday) but with UFC 228 still not set on the books, it’s likely that the UFC is targeting its September pay-per-view event for that weekend. Plus, the UFC is set to make their debut in Russia just a week later at UFC Moscow on Sept. 15, so having Nurmagomedov defend his title the week before is likely an appealing option for the UFC to pursue.

Who Nurmagomedov would defend against is another question entirely. UFC President Dana White has indicated an interest in a clash with former lightweight champion Conor McGregor but McGregor is currently dealing with some legal issues stemming from McGregor’s infamous bus attack at UFC 223. The other top option would be former interim champ Tony Ferguson but “El Cucuy” is currently recovering from knee surgery. Nurmagomedov himself has suggested a fight with former middleweight and welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre, but St-Pierre is currently retired from competition. But regardless of who it’s against, Nurmagomedov says he’ll be ready. The undefeated Dagestani is currently observing the holy month of Ramadan, which ends on June 16th this year; but though the observation of Ramadan involves daily fasting and abstention from food and water during daylight hours, “The Eagle” says he is keeping sharp for his first title defense.

“I feel great, I feel good,” Nurmagomedov said. “Now we have Ramadan. We’re training only at night. Feeling good, feeling great, my weight is good, my shape is good. I always train every day, sometimes two times.”


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VIDEO STEW

KO of the week.

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Joe B interview.

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SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE

A nice tribute from the UFC.

Cheers.

A post shared by Mikebisping (@mikebisping) on

Rory clapping back.

when @mousasi calls me chicken rory #fightingchicken

A post shared by Rory "RED KING" Macdonald (@romac_gorilla) on

Mighty Mouse f**king up Thanos.

Nick’s mugshot.

There’s a weird face in the water that is really messing with my head.

I mean, shoot your shot I guess.

More congratulations.

Salt.

Congrats.

No one.


FIGHT ANNOUNCEMENTS

Kristina Williams (1-0) vs. Valerie Letourneau (9-6); Bellator 201, June 29.

Robbie Peralta (19-8, 1 NC) vs. Juan Archuleta (18-1); Bellator 201, June 29.

Kristi Lopez (2-0-1) vs. Paola Ramirez (1-2); Bellator 201, June 29.

Eddie Wineland (23-12-1) vs. Alejandro Perez (20-6-1); UFC Boise, July 14.


TODAY IN MMA HISTORY

1997: UFC 13 was held in Augusta, Georgia, featuring the debuts of Tito Ortiz and Randy Couture. In the lightweight tournament finals that night, Guy Mezger submitted Tito Ortiz and in Randy Couture won the heavyweight tournament with a TKO of Steven Graham. THis event also featured Vitor Belfort knocking out Tank Abbott in 52 seconds.

2015: Carlos Condit earned a UFC welterweight title shot by stopping Thiago Alves at UFC Fight Night 67.


FINAL THOUGHTS

Have a good Wednesday and see y’all tomorrow.


EXIT POLL

Poll

Who does Khabib defend against?

This poll is closed

  • 44%
    Conor
    (955 votes)
  • 13%
    GSP
    (293 votes)
  • 17%
    Tony
    (372 votes)
  • 24%
    Other
    (527 votes)
2147 votes total Vote Now

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