Russian fighter Habib Nurmagomedov commented on the statement of UFC President Dana White that he refused to fight in November.
"Dana White said that I declined the offer [to fight] in November. He's lying, it was not. Let him show us the correspondence when we discussed this fight. In New York, a big tournament [UFC 217] is planned, there are a lot of our, Russian-speaking, almost two million people from the post-Soviet space. Why did he do this? There are reasons. At first I did not understand this. October 7 at the UFC 216 was supposed to be the main event, Frankie Edgar - [UFC champion] Max Holloway. Holloway dropped out and they wanted to put Cody Garbrandt's fight against [UFC champion] TJ Jay Dillashaw. Cody was not ready to fight at that moment. There was not a single champion who could fight at UFC 216. But this is PPV, it should be headed by the title fight. They tell me: "Fight October 7". [But] I already gave my answer.
By November, I would have been ready. On April 22 I had an operation. I began to train on August 1. August, September and October are three months. Do you want me after the operation, after the treatment, go to the title fight with two months of preparation? On the most important battle of my life? For 5 rounds? After the operation, I did not train for six months. I said: "We agreed on the November." I was told: "If you do not fight, then we do with Lee for a temporary title." I say: "Do it, you are the organizers there." Well, then was [talk] that I had rejected the fight with Barbosa. There was no such proposal at all. That I did not take the fight in November. This too was not.
I agree that I am an uncomfortable fighter for the organization. My injuries have recently been increased. In the last battle I did not make weight. I admit, this is my mistake. But do not lie that I declined the fight. This is generally wrong, ugly, so it is impossible. Proposals for Barbosa were not at all," Nurmagomedov said.