Khabib Nurmagomedov manager gives timeline for UFC return after coronavirus chaos

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return to the Octagon will likely take place late in the summer, his manager Ali Abdelaziz believes. The reigning UFC lightweight champion was supposed to return to action on Saturday night in the main event of UFC 249, in which he was scheduled to defend his lightweight title against Tony Ferguson.

The coronavirus outbreak, however, laid waste to those plans and saw the most-anticipated fight in the history of the lightweight division fall through for a fifth time.

Prior to the official cancellation of UFC 249 last Thursday, Nurmagomedov was forced to withdraw from the card as Russia introduced a blanket travel ban to curb the spread of COVID-19 – which left him trapped in his native Dagestan just days after he was denied entry to the United Arab Emirates.

Attention has now turned to when the undefeated Russian – who was last in action last September – will return to the Octagon.

Nurmagomedov, a devout Muslim, will begin Ramadan next week and will more than likely need at least a month to return to his pre-fasting state.

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I think he can be back in August

Ali Abdelaziz on when Khabib Nurmagomedov will likely return

And Abdelaziz believes ‘The Eagle’ will be ready to compete on the UFC’s pay-per-view event in San Francisco in August.

“I think because Ramadan is about to start next week,” the Dominance MMA chief told MMA Junkie. “I think he can be back in August.

“He told me that the UFC has scheduled San Franciso fight, I think it was August 1st. He can fight there. There’s no problem. It doesn’t have to be in September.”

Abdelaziz’s timeline for Nurmagomedov’s return is shared by the Dagestani’s head coach Javier Mendez.


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During an Instagram live broadcast, the American Kickboxing Academy head coach said: “We may see him in August or we may see him in September.

“If it’s August, I believe it’s San Francisco.

“If it’s September, I believe it’s Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. So yeah, that’s when we’ll see it. One of those.”

Although most in the MMA world believe Nurmagomedov’s long-awaited showdown with Ferguson, which has been nearly five years in the making, is cursed, Mendez believes the pair will one day share the cage.

“He’s gonna need the same amount of time to prepare because we have to respect Tony for the great champion that he is,” he said.

“If we don’t give him the same time, if not a little bit more, then shame on me.

“He’ll get the same attention, if not more because we’ll probably see him fight one more time before we meet him again.”

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