Unbeaten Khabib Nurmagomedov returns to the Octagon for the first time in over a year when he meets Edson Barboza Saturday night in the co-main event of UFC 219.
The card takes place from the T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas, with Cris Cyborg defending her female featherweight title vs. Holly Holm in the mian event.
For Nurmagomedov, this wasn’t how his 2017 was supposed to go.
Numragomedov (24-0) finished off 2016 with a submission win over Michael Johnson and was lined up to meet Tony Ferguson for the interim lightweihgt belt. Troubles with his weight, though, forced “The Eagle” to the sidelines.
Ferguson went on to win the interim title and has defended it successfully, leaving himself atop the division with Conor McGregor.
Now, after taking several months off because of his religious believes, Nurmagomedov hopes to close out 2017 with a signature win over Barboza.
The American Kickboxing Academy-trained fighter has defeated the likes of Darrell Horcher, top welterweight contender and former UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos, Pat Healy, Abel Trujillo and Thiago Tavares, but those fights are his line bouts – along with the Johnson affair – since 2013.