Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently embracing Ramadan, which keeps him from competing inside the Octagon over the summer. However, according to his manager, Mike Constantino, the lightweight contender will be primed and ready for action in September – and wants anybody the UFC is willing to give him.
Nurmagomedov (22-0) has won all six of his Octagon fights, including recent decisions over Rafael dos Anjos, Pat Healy and Abel Trujillo.
“Whoever they propose, he’ll fight,” said Constantino, in a recent interview with MMAjunkie.com. “I think he’s clearly, clearly proven himself and that he’s ready to move up in challenges towards the belt.
“He’s undefeated, he has finished people. He has manhandled the guys he’s won decisions on. He deserves an opportunity to keep marching toward the belt.”
Constantino felt like Ben Henderson, a former UFC lightweight champion, would make the perfect opponent for his fight, but Henderson accepted a bout with dos Anjos prior to Nurmagomedov being able to compete again.
“I was really hoping for Ben,” Constantino said. “He destroyed Rafael dos Anjos, then they gave him to Ben. What else is left for Khabib? He’ll fight anybody.
“My phone’s not going to ring and you’ll hear a ‘No’ on my end. He’ll fight anyone.”
Nurmagomedov started his UFC career off with a submission win over Kamal Shalorus. He followed that up by earning a decision over Gleison Tibau before finishing Thiago Tavares last year in the first round.
Anthony Pettis, the current champion at 155 pounds, is set to coach on The Ultimate Fighter 20 and defend his belt against Gilbert Melendez to conclude the year. That leaves all the other contenders to wait around or fight.
“The lightweight division is log-jammed, the champion isn’t active, so it’s time to just get these guys fights and keep moving forward,” Constantino said.
Front-Page Photo Credit: Tom Szczerbowski