UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is anticipating the creation of an interim title in his absence after announcing he will not take up the option to reduce his nine-month suspension.
Nurmagomedov was recently handed a nine-month retroactive suspension for his part in the post-fight brawl at UFC 229 but the Russian fighter was given the option to reduce his hiatus to six-months pending his involvement in an anti-bullying campaign.
With the Nevada Athletic Commission handing out the punishment, however, Nurmagomedov has taken exception with their decision citing the state’s reputation and customs as a reason for failing to compromise with their offer.
“Let them work on themselves. There were fighters who didn’t fight for two years and didn’t have their belts taken for a year and a half.
“I’m ready to fight, they were the ones who banned me.”
As a result of Nurmagomedov’s stance, ‘The Eagle’ will not compete in the Octagon until October at the earliest and so he believes the UFC will create an interim title in the meantime.
“I think that they will create an interim title,” Khabib said. “It could be between [Dustin] Poirier and [Tony] Ferguson. Whoever wins will become the interim champion, and then at the end of the year we will fight for the real belt.
“I think that could happen. At the moment I don’t know for sure.”