The UFC lightweight offered his thoughts on the upcoming Bellator 180 co-main event.
2017 has been a difficult year for Russia’s most popular MMA talents.
Both Khabib Nurmagomedov and Fedor Emelianenko had their anticipated fights cancelled less than 24 hours before the actual event. Khabib suffered a weight cutting fiasco that hospitalized him ahead of the UFC 209 weigh-ins, while the ‘Last Emperor’ was unable to perform because his opponent came down with kidney stones ahead of the show. Interestingly, however, Khabib’s difficult experience last month helped him grasp the fragility of a fighter’s position.
“When I learned that Matt Mitrione withdrew from the fight due to kidney stones, I could not believe that this is possible! And then see what happened to me – the same thing. That is life,” Khabib explained at a scrum following an open workout session in Moscow. “Today, you can get sick. Tomorrow – die. Some things we can not change.”
After visiting Germany to evaluate his physical health, Khabib revealed that he plans to return in last August or September, though it remains unclear whether he will be given another shot at Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweight title. On the other hand, Fedor is expected to meet Mitrione at Madison Square Garden in a match that Khabib believes will likely favor the legendary heavyweight.
“As for the new fight between Emelianenko and Mitrione, I think there is an excellent chance for Fedor. The Americans has good striking, a decent backhand, but it is not dangerous in the stalls. Therefore I wish Fedor buries him in the first round.”
Bellator 180 takes place June 24 at Madison Square Garden in New York City, New York.