If we are to believe Khabib Nurmagomedov, the issues with cutting down to lightweight are a thing of the past.
Nurmagomedov, appearing on UFC Tonight recently, stated that he has made several changes to his lifestyle as he prepares to meet Edson Barboza later this month at UFC 219.
“I’ve changed a lot of things. My diet, everything,” he said. “One month before the fight, I’m excited. About making weight, showing I can make weight.”
The 29-year-old Nurmagomedov has not fought since a 2016 win over Michael Johnson via submission that improved his overall record to 24-0. He was scheduled to face Tony Ferguson for a third time at UFC 209 this past March, but “The Eagle” was knocked down and out after falling ill during his weight-cut.
During his UFC career, Nurmagomedov has officially failed to make weight just once, coming in heavyweight a 2013 bout with Abel Trujillo. A fight with Darrell Horcher in 2016 was moved to a catchweight after Horcher stepped in on short notice for Ferguson.
As for that potential bout with Ferguson, Nurmagomedov still believes it is bound to happen.
“I think he wants to move on. But fans still want this fight,” he said. “The UFC wants to make this fight. We can sell a lot of PPV. When I beat Edson, I’m going to fight Tony. He knows it.”
For now, though, he’ll focus on Barboza, who is 19-4 overall and has won three in a row. That includes decision victories vs. former Strikeforce champion Gilbert Melendez and ex-UFC champion Anthony Pettis.
“He’s very good on his feet. He has very good kicking. But, he has to worry about a lot of things from me. My boxing, wrestling, my pressure, my top control. I only have to stop his kicks. I don’t think he’s my toughest opponent.”