Dana White in his announcement for UFC 216 confirmed the rumors that Khabib Nurmagomedov will not be competing in the event. Kevin Lee will replace him and fight Tony Ferguson on Oct 27 in Las Vegas.
Say it isn’t so, Khabib is out
The undefeated lightweight Russian was originally in the slot to take on Tony Ferguson in the fight. The stories have been circling around that Nurmagomedov might pull out of the event. There were different reasons given; his manager refused the fight or he may be looking for a better opponent come October.
Dana White didn’t concur with any of those reasons. When he was asked why Khabib was sitting out the fight, he said;
“Khabib [is] not ready. Yeah, he had surgery and he’s just not ready. You know, so, it is what it is.”
His comments were unclear and he hardly seemed convincing.
The real reason?
Fans have been anticipating a super MMA match between the Russian and Conor McGregor. But the latter has crossed over to fight Floyd Mayweather Jr. on Aug 26. So Nurmagomedov has to wait for his opponent, though that might not be the real reason.
When Conor McGregor makes his come back to the UFC, which he eventually will sometime in the winter, Khabib will be the prime opponent for the UFC champ.
It is a reach to assume that could be the reason Khabib pulled out of this fight, but it seems to make the most sense.
Khabib will want to stay in top shape and not risk anything after his knee surgery in May.
For now, all that matters is that fans will not get to see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight anytime soon, however, they can look forward to Tony Ferguson vs. Kevin Lee at UFC 216.
The main event for UFC 216 has yet to be announced. Stay tuned to our blog for the latest updates and announcements.