At 22-0, Khabib Nurmagomedov has gone from rising prospect to a legitimate contender in the UFC’s lightweight division. The last six of his wins have come inside the Octagon, and after his dominant performance against Raphael dos Anjos at UFC on Fox 11 last month, he is currently sitting in the #4 spot in the UFC’s lightweight rankings.
Nurmagomedov is a Sunni Muslim, and is currently preparing for Ramadan, a month long observance which requires adult Muslims to fast from sun up to sun down, which begins on June 28th. Not being able to eat or drink during daylight hours will interfere with his ability to prepare for his next fight, so the Dagastani says he will be ready to fight by the end of summer.
“The beginning of September would be just perfect for me.” Nurmagomedov said in an interview with M!-Global. “I need 40 days after Ramadan to prepare for a fight. I keep myself in shape during Ramadan but of course I can’t train enough. I was offered a fight right at the end of Ramadan but it was bad timing for me as I’ll be starving for one month. The end of August, beginning of September would be fine.”
As impressive as his last fight was, Nurmagomedov felt like it was another day in training, and didn’t feel any nerves or pressure against such a highly ranked apponent. After the win, he was already looking toward the future, and five-round fights.
“I was really relaxed. It felt like a sparring to me,” Nurmagomedov said. “I even felt I didn’t warm up enough. We had a plan and I was able to execute it 100%. Train hard, fight easy. As you could see, I was victorious.
“It was probably the first fight where I felt I could go five rounds. Even when the referee raised my hand, I thought about [fighting] five rounds. I feel I am ready for it. Before a title fight I’d really like to headline an event to test myself in a five-round bout.”
With the next lightweight title fight set to take place after Gilbert Melendez and Anthony Pettis wrap up their coaching stint on the 20th season of The Ultimate Fighter, Nurmagomedov is eyeing the first half of 2015 for his potential shot at the belt.
“Melendez is fighting Pettis, so the next fight for a champion will happen in May or so. I can’t wait that long. I need another fight before the end of 2014. If Allah gives me a victory then I’ll wait for a title shot.
“Against whom? I don’t know. It could be the winner of Cerrone-Miller, Michael Johnson, Nate Diaz, TJ Grant, anything can happen. I’ll wait for the UFC to call me.”
Here’s the entire interview with Nurmagomedov from M1-Gobal’s youtube page: