Khabib Nurmagomedov eyes fall return, possibly against Al Iaquinta

Khabib is one of the lightweight division's brightest young fighters, but injuries continue to hurt his chances of taking home UFC gold. 

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It has been over a year since undefeated lightweight title contender Khabib Nurmagomedov last fought as the Russian has been stymied over and over again by injuries.

In fact, if it weren’t for his injuries, he’d likely be considered the No. 1 contender to new champion Rafael dos Anjos. After all, Khabib’s last fight, in April of 2014, was an impressive win over the Brazilian.

Dos Anjos has not lost since that bout and Nurmagomedov’s strong wrestling skills would be sure to cause him and just about any other fighter at lightweight a good deal of difficulty. Fortunately, Khabib’s management team, Dominance MMA, tell UFC Tonight that the fighter’s physical rehabilitation is going well.

As of now, the lightweight is eyeing a return to Octagon action in either October or November. If he has his way, Khabib would like to fight Al Iaquinta.

Iaquinta has won his last four fights, three by way of finish. The Serra/Longo product was set to fight Gilbert Melendez July 15 in San Diego until it was announced days ago that "El Nino" had failed a post-fight drug test after UFC 188 in June, and would be pulled from the bout and suspended for a year by the UFC.

UFC Tonight also reports that Iaquinta himself has his share of health concerns, at present. Al has an important doctor’s appointment on Monday to determine if he will need surgery or another form of rehab for an injury.

Iaquinta’s team is currently concerned that he may need to undergo an osteochondral autograft transfer system procedure. If he does, and ends up needing the surgery, an October or November date with Khabib would likely not work well for Iaquinta.

We will keep you posted with updates on these stories as they become available.