Top UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov made a triumphant return to the Octagon this past weekend at UFC on Fox 19 following two years on the sidelines due to injuries.
Khabib defeated late replacement opponent Darrell Horcher via second-round TKO after fellow top 155lb contender Tony Ferguson pulled out less than two weeks before the fight.
“I’m very happy because two years is a long time, and when I come back now I feel I am a little bit different,” Nurmagomedov told MMAFighting.com. “That’s why I change a lot of things in my ground game, in my diet, in my training; I change a lot of things and tonight I show this.”
Having been forced to sit out for 24 months and watch the MMA world pass him by, the 27-year-old Russian has no intention of taking his time in getting to the top of his division.
Ferguson showed a similar attitude toward time-wasting when he challenged Khabib to a number one contendership bout immediately following his win over Horcher, but the man who already holds a win over current 155lb champ, Rafael dos Anjos, is now only interested in fighting the champion.
“I’m not Cowboy (Donald Cerrone), I’m different,” Khabib said. “Cowboy lose a lot of times. He can say, ‘I can fight next week’… something like this. I have goal: belt. I know, and I feel, I deserve title shot. Forget about Tony.”
The lightweight title is set to be contender between champ RDA and challenger Eddie Alvarez at UFC Fight Night 90 on July 7th. Khabib hopes to challenge the winner towards the end of the year.