Khabib Nurmagomedov
Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov is happy with his comeback. Image Credit: Supplied

Abu Dhabi: Russian fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov, due for a historic bout against American MMA star Dustin Poirier in the UAE capital in September, wants to ride on the crest of his popularity in the country.

“What happened last year [defeating McGregor] was the beginning of my legacy and I am very excited about my comeback. I’m hungry and it’s going to be a very big show for everyone fighting in Abu Dhabi. UFC and MMA are very popular in the Emirates — I can barely walk around the streets — so my focus was on Abu Dhabi before this fight was even announced,” he said in a press release.

Currently holding MMA’s longest undefeated streak at 27 wins and no losses, Khabib is excited about his fight.

“September 7 is going to be a big, big night for my legacy,” he said.

It will no easy ride for Khabib as Poirier is more than capable of leaving a dent in his opponent’s legacy. Using a superior ground game mixed with heavy blows against Max Holloway, the American managed to get the job done and end Holloway’s 13-win streak.

Poirier will need to harness that same energy when he goes up against Khabib in just two months. “I’m focused on making history and taking [Khabib] to places he has never been. I feed off good energy and I’m ready to rock. I’ll be myself, go out there and show the world what I’m capable of. Two champions are going in and one champion is coming out — it’s going to be a huge fight,” said Poirier.

Also on the fight card lies another piece of history waiting to be made.

When Joanne Calderwood of Scotland takes on American Andrea Lee, it will mark the first time that two women fight each other in the UAE. UFC wasted no time in doubling down on that historic moment by setting up The Ultimate Fighter Season 19 champion, Sarah Moras, against the fighting pride of Georgia, Liana Jojua, as another event on the night’s card.

In addition to these exciting matchups, another lightweight feast for MMA fans will be the top-10 battle of Edson Barboza and Paul Felder. While Barboza clinched a unanimous decision victory against Felder in 2015, the Ireland native will have a shot at redemption in Abu Dhabi on September 7.

With 10 fights already confirmed, September cannot come soon enough for enthusiasts across the nation as Abu Dhabi lays another claim on it’s ability to be a multi-purpose destination for top sporting events.