More questions about cutting weight raised after Khabib Nurmagomedov pulls out of UFC 209
Khabib Nurmagomedov, in an episode that raises more questions about his reliability and the rigors of cutting weight, fell ill trying to make 155 pounds, forcing the scrapping of his anticipated UFC 209 interim lightweight title fight Saturday against Tony Ferguson.
Russia’s Nurmagomedov (24-0) was seeking to stop the nine-fight winning streak of Costa Mesa’s Ferguson (23-3), with the winner first in line to face lightweight champion Conor McGregor, on hiatus awaiting the birth of his first child.
Instead, after moving past prior knee injuries and a rib injury that previously scrapped a fight with Ferguson, the weight-cut illness delays Nurmagomedov’s bid to fight for just a fifth time since September 2013.
“It’s obviously a huge blow,” UFC President Dana White said. “We have to get through [Saturday’s card], and then I’ll figure out to do with those guys.”
The UFC 209 main event, a rematch at T-Mobile Arena between welterweight champion Tyron Woodley (16-3-1) and top-rated contender Stephen Thompson (13-1-1), remains on as Woodley weighed in at the 170-pound limit and Thompson was at 169 pounds.
The pair fought to a majority draw in November at Madison Square Garden. Thompson is a slight favorite in the rematch.
Many viewed Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson, however, as the most compelling fight the UFC has staged this year given Ferguson’s versatility and Nurmagomedov’s dominance in his November victory over Michael Johnson and his rising worldwide profile. In Russia, a national television network was due to broadcast his fight live for the first time.
Just as the Friday morning deadline for Nurmagomedov to make weight expired, the UFC issued a prepared statement revealing, “ … Nurmagomedov was transported to Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center [in Las Vegas] Thursday evening due to weight management medical issues. He was treated and has…