Ranked second in the UFC’s lightweight division, Khabib Nurmagomedov is widely revered as one of the very best mixed martial artists at 155 pounds.
Only problem is the 27-year-old Russian fighter doesn’t get to prove it very often these days. Nurmagomedov has fought just twice since September 2013, with his last outing coming more than 20 months ago.
“The Eagle” has been ravaged by injuries of late, suffering separate knee injuries in 2014 and 2015. He was most recently scheduled to make his return against Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter 22 Finale earlier this month, but withdrew from the fight after suffering a broken rib.
Looking back on it all, Nurmagomedov thinks he knows what alterations must be made to his preparations.
“I’ll have to change some things in my training, still do not know what, but I must do something to become more professional,” Khabib told Ag fight (h/t Bloody Elbow). “I think I train too hard, but it is not intelligent training. I understand that many people expect to see me struggling, and I understand they are upset not to see me. But I’m also upset not to fight. I’ll try to change something next year.”
Nurmagomedov spends a good portion of his time training in San Jose’s American Kickboxing Academy. UFC President Dana White has previously expressed his concerns over AKA’s training methods, saying the gym is “still in the stone age” as recently as April of this year (h/t Bloody Elbow).
The UFC’s No. 2 lightweight says he’d like to return in March or April 2016.