Although fighters often fall out of bouts because of an injury, withdrawing from the Dec. 11 fight is a major setback for Nurmagomedov, who said on Thursday that he suffered a broken rib.
The Dagestan fighter was a hotly anticipate arrival when he debuted in the Octagon in 2011 with a 16-0 record. He has lived up to expectations, winning all six of his UFC bouts, including wins over the likes of Gleison Tibau, Thiago Tavares, and current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos.
The problem is, Nurmagomedov hasn’t fought in a year and a half, since he defeated dos Anjos. Although he was on the cusp of a title shot, at least twice linked to a No. 1 contender bout with Donald Cerrone, a recurring knee injury has kept him on the sidelines.
The bout with a surging Ferguson was supposed to be his opportunity to get back into action and prove that he should get a shot at the winner of the dos Anjos vs. Cerrone title bout slated for Dec. 17. So the timing of the broken rib was a major blow to Nurmagomedov, who now says he’s not sure if he will ever return.
“I want to apologize to my fans. I broke my rib, and again I am out of the fight,” he wrote on Instagram. “I really wanted to come back, I’m not sure if I will ever come back.”
Of course, his response could simply be the frustration of the moment overwhelming a surely disheartened fighter, but only time will tell how Nurmagomedov responds to this latest setback. In the meantime, the lightweight division rolls on without one of its brightest stars.
Хочу извиниться перед моими болельщиками, я сломал ребро и опять выбыл с боя, я очень хотел вернуться, я не уверен вернусь ли я вообще когда нибудь, спасибо большое Всем моим болельщикам, моим спонсорам, хвала Аллаху в любом положении. I want to apologize to my fans. I broke my rib, and again I am out of the fight. I really wanted to come back, I’m not sure if i will ever come back. Thanks to my fans and my sponsors. Praise to Allah. #Alhamdulillah #khkmmateam #reebok #ufc