Khabib Nurmagomedov and Edson Barboza are scheduled for a classic wrestler versus striker matchup at UFC 219. The Eagle’s last fight in the octagon was a dominant performance against Michael Johnson in November, 2016.
In a pre-fight interview, a confident Khabib made a bold claim about his future plans after his fight this weekend. Khabib tells Megan Olivi that he is considering having his next fight at featherweight, via Bloody Elbow.
“I feel great. My weight is very good,” Nurmagomedov said. “To be honest, I am thinking about next fight maybe I am going to 145. We are thinking about this. I am focused on Barboza, but we’ll see — maybe 145. We gonna see, with my team, we gonna see first how I feel Friday morning. We’ll see. We’re gonna make weight.”
Fans were shocked by Khabib’s plans as many thought he will move up to the 170-pound welterweight division due to his issues with making the 155-pound limit at lightweight. Khabib’s walkaround weight is about 192 pounds, and has been recorded wrestling former Middleweight champion Luke Rockhold. The undefeated sambo wrestler missed weight at UFC 160 against Abel Trujillo and had an agreed catchweight bout with Darrell Horcher at 160 pounds.
Earlier this year, Khabib missed weight for the second time when he was scheduled to fight current interim Lightweight Championship Tony Ferguson for the title the Mexican-American fighter now holds.
The undefeated fighter is coming into UFC 219 lighter than usual and is confident he will make the 156-pound limit.
The Eagle states that he plans to stay busy and fight at least twice a year moving forward. He also tells Megan Olivi that his injuries were likely due to overtraining and he has started training more intelligently.
The 29-year-old is focused on Edson Barboza but plans on winning the 155-pound title before challenging the Featherweight champion. Khabib is not interested in Tony Ferguson or Conor McGregor at this time and says the two champions should fight each other.
That puts Khabib around 170 lbs. Since he's still water loading at this point, a 15 lbs cut should be easy enough. 15 lbs is about the mean average cut for a UFC lightweight.#UFC219 https://t.co/nCK2sjQqiK
— Iain Kidd (@iainkidd) December 27, 2017
His new nutritionist Tyler Minton is confident that the Russian standout will make weight ahead of UFC 219.
Khabib is will be 25-0 in MMA if he wins on Saturday and will likely face the winner of Tony Ferguson and Conor McGregor, if the Irish superstar decides to defend his belt.
Tony Ferguson could also defend his interim Lightweight title if Conor McGregor is to return late in 2018.
Khabib is making use of the new UFC performance institute ahead of his fight this weekend and is likely making use of their weight cutting technology.