UFC 209 was flipped upside down earlier this month when a co-main event between lightweight title contenders Tony Ferguson and Khabib Nurmagomedov was scratched after “The Eagle” was hospitalized following a grueling weight cut. Rumors have swirled since then as to whether or not Nurmagomedov’s missed opportunity to claim the interim title at UFC 209 will accelerate his plans to retire, but teammate and former Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) middleweight king Luke Rockhold believes the undefeated Russian is ready to rock.
“(It’s) unfortunate,” said Rockhold during a recent appearance on Submission Radio (shown above). “That was the fight I was really looking forward to for Khabib and it’s been a long time working with that man and I know he’s put in the time and the effort and deserved it, so it just sucks.
“From what I understand he wasn’t getting any blood to his liver and something went wrong with the weight cut. It was very similar to his last fight from what I understand and just something went wrong. You never know with these weight cuts I guess. But I think he’s ready to go and we can re-book that thing.”
Nurmagomedov, 28, has destroyed all competition en route to a 8-0 Octagon record, but failed to show up when it mattered most. Ferguson was the last lightweight he had to defeat in order to hoist UFC gold and lock down a future showdown with budding rival Conor McGregor.
“I don’t think it should take much time. I think he’s hungry, I think he’s ready,” added Rockhold. “What other choice do you have? Khabib is undefeated, he’s beaten everybody, he’s done more than anybody. You can’t take that fight away, you can’t take the title away. It just needs to be re-booked. I think it should be re-booked as soon as possible”
Despite Rockhold’s belief that Nurmagomedov is ready to reschedule his bout with “El Cucuy,” the promotion must take a cautious approach in giving “The Eagle” another chance to take flight in the spotlight.