Khabib Nurmagomedov first heard about Darrell Horcher last week.
At that point, the name didn’t matter. Whether it was a rookie or a contender, a lightweight or a welterweight, Nurmagomedov simply needed to keep his dance date at UFC on FOX 19 intact. So as soon as the UFC made the offer, the decision was easy — Nurmagomedov agreed to meet Horcher at a 160-pound catchweight and give the Octagon newcomer the opportunity of a lifetime.
“My reaction? I think, oh, I have to watch this guy,” Nurmagomedov said Monday on The MMA Hour. “Who is this guy? Twelve wins, one loss? He has not bad record. He is some other promotion’s lightweight champion, and I watch his fights. He’s a southpaw. He has a very hard left punch, left kick. He’s more of a striking guy.
“When I go to the cage, I go like (it is) a championship fight. Because if I lose this fight, I lose everything. I have to win. I cannot now relax and think, this guy is a new guy to the UFC. I don’t think like this. I have to focus on my fight, focus on my opponent like [he is] ‘Cowboy’ or Tony Ferguson or RDA. I have to come back and I have to win this fight.”
The last time Nurmagomedov fought, he dismantled Rafael dos Anjos and made the UFC lightweight belt look like an inevitably. That was nearly two years ago. Gold seemed so close back then, Nurmagomedov could never have guessed what would come next: a endless stream of injuries and bad luck that drowned his stock and slowly killed off any momentum the undefeated Dagestani had built.
That is why Nurmagomedov pressed so desperately for the UFC to find him a replacement opponent for April ….View full article
Source:: mma fighting