If you remember, when Khabib Nurmagomedov missed his fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 209 after falling ill while cutting weight.
One of the biggest question marks for the weigh-in was Khabib Nurmagomedov, who faces Edson Barboza in the UFC 219 co-main event in a lightweight title shot. No doubt Khabib is a destructive fighter with a great competitive track record, but weight cut issues haunt him the most.
Many were fearful that Nurmagomedov would once again fail to make weight for his eagerly-anticipated fight with Edson Barboza. However, he well and truly allayed those fears by stepping on the scale at 155.5lbs yesterday. (transcript via BloodyElbow)
“Yeah, I feel this. I agree with fans, I agree with the UFC, because I’m professional,” Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani prior to making weight for UFC 219. “I have to make weight. And after I have to show very good performance. This fight is a real contender fight. He’s top five, I’m top five, and after this fight I’m going to fight for the title, when I beat him. This year I want to finish, and new year I want to come like number one contender.”
“Yeah, yeah. I talk with the UFC,” Nurmagomedov continued, revealing that he should be in line for a title shot with a win. “I talk with Dana. Dana told me, ‘You have to make weight, beat this guy, if you want to fight for the title.’ And I agree with him.”
After making a lightweight this time, Khabib said it wasn’t an easy journey for him.
“Yeah, I think this is much different,” Khabib conceded. “Because now I am healthy, this is number one. Because before, I feel sick, I feel bad, inside. Now I feel perfect. After last situation, I make surgery, I make move to Germany, make rehab – a couple months, like 3-4 months. September I begging to come back, and last four months I train hard for this fight.
“And we’re here, like, two days before fight and I can’t believe. When I’m beginning this in September, I think it’s going to be very hard – the weight. It was really really hard weight, but everything go fast. Now, two days before fight, tomorrow morning when I show weight, and Saturday night, I’m going to show how Eagle is hungry. I have to catch somebody inside the cage, this is very important. Eagle have to eat.”
Khabib said, while he still has plenty of unfinished business ahead of him in the lightweight division, Nurmagomedov found himself thinking of a move to featherweight class somewhere down the road.
“No, I’m not joking,” Khabib assured when asked if he was actually considering a drop to featherweight. “I am serious about this. But first of all, I have two fights at lightweight: Edson and Tony. I want to finish this business, and afterward, I think, with my team, what we’re going to do. But I am already thinking about this.”
The lightweight winner will be in a superior position to either fight interim champion Ferguson in the spring or be next in line to fight the March winner of a Conor McGregor-Ferguson super fight.
Khabib Nurmagomedov will square off against Edson Barboza at UFC 219 on December 30, Saturday at the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, NV.