A knee injury that scratched UFC lightweight Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) from a UFC 178 bout with Donald Cerrone (24-6 MMA, 11-3 UFC) was revealed to be a torn right meniscus, his coach today told MMAjunkie.
Mike Constantino said the Dagestani fighter will require surgery for the injury and is likely to be out a minimum of six months, meaning Nurmagomedov is looking for a January 2015 return, though his timetable could improve depending on the quality of his rehabilitation.
“I was hoping that he didn’t require surgery and it was just a bump and a bruise, but it turned out to be meniscus, so I’m a little bit disappointed to hear it was that severe,” Constantino said. “But you can’t jerk around with it. You’ve got to get it done.”
UFC President Dana White first revealed the injury during a media scrum for this past Saturday’s UFC Fight Night 46 in Dublin. He said the fight between Nurmagomedov and the surging Cerrone had just been signed for the Sept. 27 pay-per-view card when Nurmagomedov injured his knee. The promotion elected to book another fight rather than wait on his prognosis.
Constantino said Nurmagomedov was training in his native Dagestan when the injury took place; the coach was unaware of exactly what happened in the gym. The fighter traveled to Moscow to see the doctor who officially diagnosed him and is now back at home.
To Constantino’s knowledge, it’s the first serious knee injury Nurmagomedov has suffered in his professional career. The 25-year-old ligthweight has quietly racked up a six-fight win streak in the UFC, most recently outpointing Rafael dos Anjos in April at UFC on FOX 11. And yet, he has struggled to find willing opponents, according to White.
Cerrone distinguished himself by volunteering to fight Nurmagomedov, but now awaits a new challenge as he builds momentum following a head-kick knockout of Jim Miller at this past Wednesday’s UFC Fight Night 45.
For more on UFC 178, check out the UFC Rumors section of the site.
(Pictured: Khabib Nurmagomedov)