Khabib Nurmagomedov is playing a dangerous game.
Last month, the UFC lightweight champion was handed down a nine month suspension, retroactive to October, for his role in starting a brawl at UFC 229. His punishment also included a option to reduce the suspension by three months if he participated in an anti-bullying public service announcement. Instead, Nurmagomedov has gone the other way, saying not only does he refuse to do the PSA, he also refuses to fight again until the one-year suspension of his teammates, Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov, are over as well and is targeting a November return.
But while solidarity with one’s teammates is commendable, it also could cost him his UFC title.
Speaking at the UFC 234 post-fight press conference, Dana White addressed Nurmagomedov’s recent statements, saying that Khabib will not be allowed to sit on the sideline and hold the lightweight division up for a year.
“Guys can’t sit out and wait that long when you have the title,” White said. “You can’t do it. So if that’s true and he’s going to do that, then we’d have to figure out something else and you start looking at whether it’s Conor McGregor-Tony Ferguson or one of these other guys.”
That’s good news for Tony Ferguson and Dustin Poirier, the two fighters who have been waiting for months for the NAC to settle affairs with Khabib so they can get their shot at the UFC belt. But whether they would be competing for the undisputed title or an interim belt is unclear and, in typical White fashion, the UFC President did not want to commit to anything just yet.
“When opportunity knocks, answer the door. We’ll see how this thing plays out.”
UFC 234. Israel Adesanya wins entertaining scrap with Anderson Silva at UFC 234.
Bellator. Patricky Freire edges Ryan Scope at Bellator Newcastle.
Contender. Israel Adesanya believes he’s No. 1 contender despite Robert Whittaker pulling out of UFC 234.
Grim. Dana White: If Robert Whittaker’s hernia acted up during UFC 234 fight, ‘it could have been fatal’.
Hardo. Coach: Robert Whittaker wanted to postpone emergency surgery, fight Kelvin Gastelum at UFC 234.
Prediction. Donald Cerrone says he’s fighting Conor McGregor this summer, predicts knockout.
UFC 234 post-fight show.
Dana hoping for 3 more for DC.
RDA still looking for that Conor money.
6th Round. Immediate post-fight reaction to UFC 234.
Severe MMA. Discussing Robert Whittaker’s injury, UFC 234, and Bellator.
SOCIAL MEDIA BOUILLABAISSE
Anderson is one crafty, crafty Martial Artist.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
You only develop these methods through years of hard fought experience.
The crafty veteran. Big respect always.
It would be an honor!
Why is that worm holding the 185lb belt? There are worms crawling on his skin! It was absolutely ludicrous to even consider allowing him to compete. Let alone now walk around the arena shaking our fans hands.— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Someone sort this, this instant. And sterilize that belt.
The “being attacked by bees defense.” Wow!— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
He has had killer bees on his tracksuits and clothing all these years!
Truly The Spider!
A real pioneer.
Book it. I’ll fight Nate on it. https://t.co/ewh4aQ4E7A— Conor McGregor (@TheNotoriousMMA) February 10, 2019
Come take it off....— #OnAmission4Gold (@KelvinGastelum) February 10, 2019
Little prick! https://t.co/823ptmymr8
Confidence in the new star.
#IsraelAdesanya seems to enter a 'flow state' with ease. Its fascinating to watch. I can only imagine it's from doing something he really loves along with 1000s of hours of flow sparring. Would love to know more, just a matter of time before he has the belt.— Coach Kavanagh (@John_Kavanagh) February 10, 2019
Sounds like a fight.
Unfortunately I wasn’t able to watch the fights last night. However just watched the Anderson fight this morning. Great fight. Good to see that Anderson still has it! Is he still putting his hands down??— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) February 10, 2019
Adesanya just a tad bit overrated— Chris Weidman (@chrisweidman) February 10, 2019
Ray Borg is just the best dude.
During my last fight camp my wife and I went threw the process of gaining guardianship of my 7 year old niece. Shortly before my niece was born, her father passed away. Today it is an honor to fill his shoes and take my niece to her first daddy daughter dance. pic.twitter.com/HTKSFznzyZ— Ray Borg (@tazmexufc) February 9, 2019
Paul Felder looks to be in the best shape of his life.
Sorry not sorry. Some day I’ll be retired and fat. I trained my ass off for next week. One week!! Let’s go! @ufc #UFCPhoenix #lightweight pic.twitter.com/h6UYyzEw7Q— Paul Felder (@felderpaul) February 10, 2019
Will Brooks hanging with TO.
Get ya popcorn ready. pic.twitter.com/qybnvyskWq— Will Brooks (@ILLxWillBrooks) February 10, 2019
Good plan. That division is easy pickings.
Thought about bumping to 205, I got some unfinished business to handle. CEO “Champ Shit Only” Tell Me I Won’t.— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) February 10, 2019
Michel Prazeres (26-2) vs. Ismail Naurdiev (17-2); UFC Prague, Feb. 23.
Satoru Kitaoka (42-18-9) vs. Roberto Satoshi (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.
Damien Brown (18-12) vs. Koji Takeda (8-0); Rizin 15, April 15.
Manel Kape (12-4) vs. Seiichiro Ito (12-2-2); Rizin 15, April 15.
TODAY IN MMA HISTORY
2017: Germaine de Randamie became the inaugural UFC women’s featherweight champion, taking a unanimous decision over Holly Holm at UFC 208.
That might have been the best performance of Anderson’s career. Given how obviously physically declined he was, he still more than hung in there with one of the best strikers in the sport. What I wouldn’t give to have seen them go at it in Andy’s prime.
Thanks for reading and see y’all tomorrow.
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