Khabib Nurmagomedov won the undisputed UFC lightweight title in early April, but could be returning to the Octagon to defend it sooner than anticipated.
Nurmagomedov is Muslim and currently in the midst of observing Ramadan, so he was expected to be on the sidelines for the near term, but it was also believed that the UFC might hold off on his return until late in the year, potentially putting him on a November fight card in New York.
It now appears that Nurmagomedov could be back in the cage much sooner.
"A lot of people ask me about my next fight. To be honest I don’t know. I don’t know when it’s going to be. Now we talk about this with the UFC. It’s going to be maybe 9 September or 6 October," Nurmagomedov said in a live chat, as transcribed from Russian by MMAMania.
"I don’t know about opponent; Conor (McGregor), GSP (Georges St-Pierre), whoever. It doesn’t matter, we’ll see. Next couple of weeks it’s going to be very fun because now we’re beginning to talk about my next fight with the UFC."
Although the UFC has not yet announced an event for Sept. 9, it could be a potential target for UFC 228, as UFC 229 is slated for Oct. 6 in Las Vegas. If neither of those dates pans out, however, Nurmagomedov's return would likely be pushed back to the original thinking of November.
Though he is in the midst of Ramadan, a month of prayer and dawn-to-dusk fasting that is part of the Islamic faith, Nurmagomedov is still training at night.
"I feel great, I feel good. Now we have Ramadan and we train only night and feeling good and great. My weight is good, my shape is good. I am always training everyday, sometimes I train two times."