Last Saturday was the first time we've seen Khabib Nurmagomedov fight in the Octagon in over a year, the unfortunate result of a bad weight cut at UFC 209 back in March that sent him to the hospital and off the card. He returned in fine form, dominating Edson Barboza to the point where all three judges awarded him multiple 10-8 rounds.
I'm pretty excited about Nurmagomedov, but it's hard to get too hyped at this moment because the guy is second only to Dominick Cruz for disappointingly long layoffs. A steady stream of injuries and mishaps make this UFC 219 fight with Barboza just his third match since April of 2014.
Fortunately, it sounds like Khabib is ready to make up for lost time. During his post fight interview with Megan Olivi, Nurmagomedov laid out his desire to get three fights in this 2018.
“The perfect date I think is April or May," he said. "Because May is beginning Ramadan, I want to fight before Ramadan, and I want to fight after Ramadan, September, and I want to fight December. This is my plan, three times this year.”
While there's plenty of moving parts that could get in the way, it's always nice to hear a fighter commit to staying active and not disappearing for six to nine months. A couple of quick turnarounds and more intense ass whuppings like he delivered in his last two fights, and Khabib could be the UFC's next big star. That was so close to happening in 2017. Let's hope nothing gets in the way in 2018.