Khabib Nurmagomedov does not think the Ultimate Fighting Championship will strip him of his lightweight belt.
The Russian champion captured the vacant 155-lb belt in April 2018 when he came out with a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
Six months later, he marched to his first title defense against the returning Conor McGregor.
Passing the biggest test of his career with flying colours, Nurmagomedov submitted “The Notorious” in the fourth round of UFC 229 to retain the lightweight championship and stretched his winning streak to 27 overall and 11 at UFC.
But with the post-fight brawl that ensued after the historic bout, he was punished by the Nevada State Athletic Commission with a fine of $500 000 and a nine-month suspension, leaving the lightweight division’s kingless until July.
But Khabib is confident that he will keep hold of the throne.
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Conor McGregor were both served with hefty fines and lengthy suspensions for their roles in the ugly post-fight fracas that ensued after their massive clash in the main event of UFC 229 last October.
The Nevada State Athletic Commission slapped him with $500 000 fine and a nine-month suspension for instigating the violence at UFC 229 while McGregor will be sitting out for six months aside from paying a penalty of $50 000.
The ruling also stated that Nurmagomedov could return to the cage by April, but he already insisted that he will not enrol in an anti-bullying program.
Khabib has aired his frustrations over the NSAC’s decision through social media.
In a Twitter post, he wrote “politics forever,” implying that the ruling wasn’t fair and was purely political.
But he reiterated that he has no regrets over his actions at the night of the UFC 229.
“I made enough wrong things in my life I’m sorry about, but you can’t turn time back and change something.”
“If I could, believe me, I would. But not this time. If the situation (jump from octagon) repeated 100 times, I would do the same 100 times. No regret about what I did.”
“Someone liked it, someone not. It doesn’t matter. I did what I wanted to do. I am a sambo practitioner and sambo is martial art about self-defense without weapons. I didn’t attack someone first, I was attacked.”
“There were provocations. There was support from the organization (UFC) in his direction.”
“A lot of moments I turned blind eye to. Remember when I said – 6 October I will dot the i’s and cross the t’s?”
“Everyone have their own opinion, I don’t wanna to argue with anybody,” he stressed in a recent interview with Russian channel Match TV.
And if there is one thing the undefeated lightweight was upset about, it was the one-year suspensions served to Zubaira Tukhugov and Abubakar Nurmagomedov – his teammates who brawled with “The Notorious” inside the cage.
He said that he would not return the Octagon until his teammates’ are eligible to fight again.
With Khabib sitting out until October, some MMA fans are calling for the UFC to vacate his lightweight belt.
But “The Eagle” is confident that he will not be stripped of the title as he thinks that the Nevada-based promotion will create an interim title while he remains suspended.
“I think that they will create an interim title.”
“It could be between [Dustin] Poirier and [Tony] Ferguson. Whoever wins will become the interim champion, and then at the end of the year, we will fight for the real belt.
“I think that could happen. [But] at the moment, I don’t know for sure.”
As for his next fight, Nurmagomedov recently announced that he had received an offer for a boxing match in Russia.
“Boxing Federation of Russia entered the proposal.”
“Summer, Luzhniki, etc. How do you think, friends, do I need this challenge or not?” he wrote on Instagram.
Do you think the UFC should strip Khabib of his lightweight title? Let us know in the comment section below!
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/Khabib Nurmagomedov)