To say it’s been a while would be an understatement at best. For almost two years, the injury-strewn Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov  soared and roamed on the far empyrean,  reaching as far afield as his native Dagestan to the even farther reaches of the good ol’ US of A, and back again. His return has been imminent to say the least; akin to a flock of birds who migrate, only to return one day. Why? It’s an imperative — it impacts on their overall existence, the same way it impacts Nurmagomedov’s mixed martial arts existence.

Nurmagomedov (22-0 MMA, 6-0 UFC) was originally slated to throw down with Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC on Fox 19; however, “El Cucuy” was forced to withdraw due to blood fluid in his lungs. Instead, he now gets to lock horns with promotional newbie, and former Bellator resident, 28-year-old Darrell “The Saint” Horcher (12-1 MMA, 0-0 UFC), whose only blemish on an otherwise good record, is a decision loss to Philippe Nover three years ago.

In addition, the AKA team fighter has also been relegated to the third act behind the co-headliner and headline act.

In MMA, more times than not, there’s no such thing as a gimme fight. More so when a fighter’s preparation is thrown into disarray as a result of their opponent having to drop out through whatever circumstances, and then they’re tasked with changing up their training regime to accommodate a new opponent; in most cases, on short notice.

Worse still, if said opponent is making their promotional debut, as is Horcher, they have nothing to lose and everything to gain. Now that’s what the 27-year-old Nurmagomedov is up against.

Nonetheless, albeit this matchup is being fought at a catchweight of 160 lbs., and even though he hasn’t competed for nigh on two years, I’ll go out on a limb — this fight is a “Gimme” for the Dagestani, how can it not be; undefeated in his pro MMA career, great grappling skills and an easy drubbing job on current lightweight champ Rafael dos Anjos to boot, should be enough to persuade any naysayers.

Nurmagomedov is a bird of prey, and his talons will be full on display as he swoops down on the hapless Horcher; winning via TKO. That victory will firmly put him back in the proverbial mix of the deathly lightweight division that is murderers’ row.

With a potential shot at UFC gold in clear sight, “The Eagle” has truly landed.

About The Author

Nedu Obi

Nedu graduated from London Metropolitan University and has a Bachelor's Degree in Creative Writing and Media Studies. He is a fervent freelance writer/blogger and a wordsmith provocateur. His hobbies/interests are centred on MMA, Boxing, Football, Current Events and the Arts. He’s also a keen roller skater and marshals for the LFNS (London Friday Night Skate). "Political language -- and with variations this is true of all political parties, from Conservatives to Anarchists -- is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind". - George Orwell