Highly ranked UFC lightweight contender Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov has been on the sidelines for the last two years nursing multiple injuries.
The undefeated Dagestani born combatant was scheduled to make his anticipated return to action at the upcoming UFC on FOX 19 card in Tampa, Florida in a pivotal bout opposite surging contender Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson.
The bout, which was set to serve as the evening’s (April 16, 2016) main event, fell through earlier this week, however, when Ferguson was forced to withdraw with a lung injury.
Originally, it was thought that Nurmagomedov would be pulled from the card completely, as finding an opponent to face him on such short notice would be a daunting task.
Unsurprisingly, however, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, who is known for his anytime, anywhere attitude, voiced his interest in fighting “The Eagle”.
It appeared last night (April 6, 2016), as if both men had verbally agreed to the bout which is why it may be shocking to learn today that Nurmagomedov will be remaining on the card and taking on UFC newcomer Darrell Horcher in a catchweight bout.
FOX Sports confirmed the news earlier today (April 7, 2016).
Horcher has won his last five bouts including his latest two by way of stoppage, but it’s undoubtedly odd to see him take on one of the best lightweights in the world in his promotional debut.
No matter the opponent, “The Eagle” simply wanted to fight:
“I don’t fight for two years. I need to feel blood, I need to feel the cage, I am ready go,” Nurmagomedov said. “My mind says ‘hey, you have to fight next Saturday’. This is everything.”