Dana White & Sean Shelby Give In to Team Khabib’s Demands as Umar Nurmagomedov Finally Confirms Top Contender for Return

Published 01/31/2024, 12:50 PM EST

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Will Khabib Nurmagomedov‘s cousin brother finally get a dangerous opponent for his UFC match? Umar Nurmagomedov has been with the UFC since 2020, but he hasn’t been able to make it big with difficult opponents up until now. His cousin, ‘The Eagle’, left a lasting mark in the promotion, defeating some of the biggest names. Now, perhaps it’s his time to do so.

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Umar Nurmagomedov debuted in the UFC in 2021, however, his much-touted debut was after much delay. The fighter was meant to fight Sergey Morozov and Hunter Azure in 2020, but both the bouts were canceled. Clearly, he’s had a late start. Is Team Khabib trying to make up for it now?

Khabib Nurmagomedov’s cousin to start his legacy anew

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Nicknamed ‘Young Eagle’, Umar Nurmagomedov is yet another Dagestani phenom trained under the same coaches and team that gave us Khabib Nurmagomedov and Islam Makhachev. His manager, Ali Abdelaziz, recently announced that the fighter had finally booked a big fight.

Finally somebody except the fight with @UNmgdv March 2,” he wrote without revealing who the opponent will be. However, fans were quick to speculate a few names that could pop up on the card opposite to Nurmagomedov’s name. The first on the list could be Cory Sandhagen.

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That’s because there’s a bit of a loose end to be tied between Nurmagomedov and Sandhagen. The two were supposed to lock horns in August 2023, but the fight never happened. So a potential rematch between the two is not very out of reach.

Fans also speculated that Nurmagomedov could be going up against Pedro Munhoz instead. Munhoz is currently ranked at number 11 in the bantamweight division. Meanwhile, Sandhagen stands at #4. Both are big fights, but the latter would likely bring Nurmagomedov quicker fame and bring him closer to a title shot. He promised the fans that the fighters mentioned in the tweet were next. But who exactly is it? More importantly, what made him pull out of his last fight, anyway?

Why did he pull out of his last fight?

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Sandhagen went up against Rob Font to headline the Fight Night event that was originally meant to be between him and Nurmagomedov. The Dagestani fighter ended up pulling out of the fight but thankfully, the bout was never canceled, just rearranged. But why did he pull out?

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Abdelaziz would reveal that the fighter had suffered a shoulder injury and could not go on with his fight schedule. Nurmagomedov would also address the issue on Instagram with a long caption that read, “Anything happens. And injuries are just a part of sports life… Of course I’m upset, but I have no complaints. Ambitions and goals are the same. Giving my shoulder a break.” Now, perhaps he’s healed enough to come back stronger.

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Who will be his next opponent? What do you think? Let us know in the comments.

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Written by:

Prit Chauhan

718Articles

One take at a time

I'm Prit Chauhan, and I'm a UFC writer at EssentiallySports. I've been in the writing business for three years, covering areas like mass media marketing, and even tried my hand at fiction. My experience includes research work at the University of California, Berkeley, which helps me spin fact-based stories about the world of Mixed Martial Arts effortlessly.
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Edited by:

Ruth John

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