The long-awaited return of UFC lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov will finally happen later this year.
The undefeated Nurmagomedov, who was the last man to defeat current UFC lightweight titlist Rafael Dos Anjos, will face Tony Ferguson at The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 finale on December 11.
Nurmagomedov is ranked second, and Ferguson ninth, in the UFC’s official rankings.
The 26 year old Nurmagomedov, who hails from Dagestan, Russia, is 22-0 as a professional MMA fighter and 6-0 in the UFC. He’s long been seen as one of the best fighters in one of MMA’s most competitive divisions. But injuries have slowed his ascent to stardom; most notably a knee injury which has kept him out of action since April 2014.
A champion of the thirteenth season of The Ultimate Fighter, the 31 year old California native Ferguson is 19-3 in MMA, and 9-1 in the UFC. He is currently enjoying a six fight win streak, which includes victories over Josh Thompson and Gleison Tibau.
As Ariel Helwani reports, the bout will not serve as main event of The Ultimate Fighter Season 22 Finale:
Worth noting: Khabib x Ferguson isn't the TUF 22 main. Team Khabib didn't want 5 rounds. Gimme Edgar vs. Stephans as main, night before 194.
— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) August 21, 2015
The TUF 22 Finale is said to be held in Las Vegas but no venue has been announced. It is expected to air on Fox Sports 1.
Also set to appear on the card is a lightweight bout between Joe Lauzon and Evan Dunham.