Over the past few years, as MMA has continued to grow, the UFC has come under fire for signing fighters to compete on short notice.

Some have looked good, such as Illir Latifi, while many others have only served the purpose of filling a spot and cashing a check.

Darrell Horcher is more like Latifi than the latter.

Horcher will make his Octagon debut this Saturday night at UFC on FOX 19, against top lightweight contender Khabib Nurmagomedov in a catchweight bout to be contested at 160 pounds. Nurmagomedov was scheduled to meet Tony Ferguson, but an injury knocked the former Ultimate Fighter winner out.

First, credit Nurmagomedov for even accepting this fight.

He’s been out of action for several months, but could have easily passed on the fight and waited for Ferguson – or another top 155-pound contender – to become available and keep his standing in the division.

Instead, “The Eagle” will put his unbeaten record and his top contender status on the line vs. a 13-win fighter nicknamed “The Saint.”

Horcher currently holds the Cage Fury Fighting Championships lightweight title and has won five straight since a 2013 loss in Bellator MMA to former TUF finalist Phillipe Nover. After securing wins in his first six pro bouts, Bellator took notice of the skills presented by the Pennsylvania fighter and signed him up.

In 2012, Horcher knocked out E.J. Brooks in front of his home crowd in just 21 seconds to secure his Bellator debut. He followed up with a decision win over Chris Liguori before being bested by Nover in a decision.

Since that time, Horcher’s been stacking up wins as the main event in his last three CFFC fights, finishing Stephen Regman and Jordan Stiner, while earning a decision over Alex Ricci. His 2015 TKO vs. Stiner came thanks to a head kick and netted him the CFFC title in the process.

When Nurmagomedov talks in interviews about this fight being an all-or-nothing contest for him, he means it. And don’t think for a moment that Horcher — and his eight career finishes — isn’t thinking about what he would mean to add a name like Khabib Nurmagomedov to his record.