Khabib Nurmagomedov, arguably the best fighter at 155 pounds, is injured again and will not be fighting this December, he announced late Thursday night on social media.
The third-ranked lightweight was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter 22 finale in what would have been his first fight since April 2014. Last time we saw Nurmagomedov in the cage was in a dominant decision victory against now-champion Rafael dos Anjos at UFC on FOX 11.
He was scheduled to face off against perennial top contender Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone at UFC 178 and again at UFC 187, but was forced to withdraw from both contests after suffering a knee injury.
After breaking his rib during preparations for his bout with Ferguson, it may end up being a full two years before we see “The Eagle” take to the Octagon again, if he returns at all.
He wrote on his Instagram:
“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.”
— Tony Ferguson (@TonyFergusonXT) October 30, 2015
The promotion officially announced Edson Barboza as a replacement, according to MMAFighting. Ranked sixth in arguably the deepest division in all of MMA, Barboza is the only fighter ranked higher than Ferguson who isn’t already scheduled for a bout.
Ferguson, riding a six-fight winning streak, has not lost since facing Michael Johnson at UFC on FOX 3 in 2012. He’s since defeated Danny Castillo, Abel Trujillo and former Strikeforce champion Josh Thomson.