Khabib Nurmagomedov was heading toward the biggest fight of his UFC career when he was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title at UFC 209 in March.
However, to the shock of everyone, the Russian was a no-show at the early weigh-ins the day before the fight. It was later revealed that Nurmagomedov was hospitalized and subsequently removed from the card just 24 hours before the event.
With his future in question, Nurmagomedov has been relatively quiet since the ordeal. But the undefeated fighter broke his silence on The MMA Hour and addressed what took place leading up to the fight.
“In the evening, I feel badly. I feel different. I never feel like this,” Nurmagomedov told Ariel Helwani. “One day before weigh-in, of course I don’t feel good all the time, but I think this is like something different. And when I go home the night before weigh-ins, I feel crazy. I’m cutting weight with my team, and I don’t remember how I cut weight. I don’t remember a lot of things, something going wrong.”
Nurmagomedov said that the pain in his stomach became so severe that he needed to be taken to a nearby hospital in the middle of the night. Upon being checked in, the doctors stated that he was in no shape to compete and his health was in serious question.
“The doctor say, ‘you cannot fight. You almost die. How you fight? How you can fight if you almost die?’ ” he said. “We say no fight, 100 percent. No make weight. No fight. No nothing. You need to stay in the hospital for seven hours, we have to make sure your body is good.’ But I feel I almost died.”
Since his removal, the Russian said that he still hasn’t been able to resume training but went to Germany for tests to find out what went wrong. Although he didn’t get into detail, Nurmagomedov would undergo treatment to solve his stomach problems. According to him, these problems had nothing to do with his weight cutting procedure and are a separate issue altogether. He said he hopes to return to action this fall and will continue to campaign as a lightweight.
He apologized repeatedly throughout the interview to the fans who didn’t get to see him fight while also saving some kind words for UFC president Dana White.
“I want to say thank you to him,” he said. “I know sometimes he goes crazy when somebody pulls out, but I understand. I understand everything. I am professional fighter and I have to make weight and this is my job, but sometimes you cannot control your body, and you do everything. This is my fault. I know, 100 percent, this my fault. But we will see what happens next time. I’m going to come back. This is not finished. This is not finished, my career. I’m going to fix my body and come back.”