Nurmagomedov targeting September return after UFC 209 withdrawal

The co-main event of UFC 209 between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson was cancelled in March, but the Russian is on the comeback trail.

Khabib Nurmagomedov is aiming to return in September after "weight management issues" forced him to pull out of an interim-lightweight title fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 209.

Undefeated Nurmagomedov was hospitalised two days prior to the co-main event, which was cancelled on medical recommendation – the third time a scheduled bout between the pair had failed to come to fruition.

However, the 28-year-old is confident of making a comeback and aims to be back in the octagon in around five months.

"You know, I don't remember a lot of things, to be honest. [Before the weigh-in] I knew I am going to a hospital, I feel bad," Nurmagomedov told RT.

"I know that a lot of fans are upset with me about this, and I agree with these guys, because this is one of the biggest fights in Russian MMA. For me, I can make history but I am going to the hospital, you know.

"But sometimes this happens, sometimes you can die, you know. Everybody can die, everybody can [get] sick. Now I need a couple of months, like two or three months. After three months I come for hard training and I want to fight in September.

"I think this is my fault, this is my fault. I know that [my] body doesn't listen to me and I think, I know, this is my fault. How can I say that this is the coach's fault or the diet guy's fault? This is 100 per cent my fault."

Suggestions Ferguson could be Nurmagomedov's opponent in September are not a primary concern for the Russian.

He appreciates well-wishes from his rival in the aftermath, but admitted that has done little to change his feelings about the 33-year-old American.

"To be honest, I don't think about this," he said when asked about a fight with Ferguson. "First of all, I have to stay healthy. This is most important. I don't think about who fights who.

"I feel a little bit better [towards him], but to be honest, you know, when you want to smash somebody so badly, how do you feel about this guy?

"This is my dream fight – a fight with Tony Ferguson. I know I pulled out, but he pulled out one time, too. Nobody talked when he pulled out. When I pull out, everybody talks about this."

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