The world of mixed martial arts is waited with bated breath for the return of one of the sport’s most dominant champions in history.
Khabib Nurmagomedov makes his long-awaited return from suspension to put his UFC lightweight title on the line against interim champion Dustin Poirier in Abu Dhabi.
The main fight card for the Emirates is stacked, but there are a host of other top stories from outside the octagon as well.
Here are the top stories from the world of MMA.
UFC release unseen footage from UFC 229
Ahead of Khabib’s highly-anticipated return to the octagon, the UFC have released the full fight highlights from the Dagestani-native’s last fight against Conor McGregor.
The Lightweight champion defended his belt in emphatic style against the Notorious, forcing him to tap out in the fourth round via neck crank after 20 minutes of mauling.
However, what followed next was unsavoury – to say the least.
Nurmagomedov vaulted the cage and attacked McGregor’s Jiu-Jitsu coach Dillon Danis.
And the previously unseen footage shows Khabib land a flying hammerfist as well as trying to kick out at
Danis. The ‘Eagle’ was hit with a $500,000 fine and suspended for nine months.
(Scroll to 19:30 to see the newly released angles from the UFC)
Dustin Poirier arrives to celebrity welcome in Abu Dhabi
Although a heavy betting underdog heading into UFC 242, Duston Poirier is being made to feel like a king in Abu Dhabi.
The ‘Diamond’ was filmed arriving by the UFC as part of the Embedded series to a hero’s welcome.
Born into modest surroundings in Lafayette, Louisiana, Poirier can be seen being presented with a Rolls Royce and then shown around his luxury villa.
The former featherweight contender has enjoyed a scintillating run since moving up to the 155lbs division, stopping Justin Gaethje, Eddie Alavrez and then beating Max Holloway on points to claim the interim belt.
Ryan Bader agrees with Scott Coker he is the best heavyweight on the planet
Two-weight Bellator champion Ryan Bader concurs with Scott Coker’s assessment that he is the best heavyweight on the planet.
After Daniel Cormier was dethroned by Stipe Miocic at UFC 241, Coker declared Bader the best in the world.
The former UFC light-heavyweight contender has been unstoppable since moving up in weight at his new promotion and picked up victories against King Mo Lawal, Matt Mitrione and even Fedor Emelianenko.
And Bader agrees with the Bellator President.
“For me, I believe that [I am the best]. If you don’t believe that, then you shouldn’t be in this sport. I do believe I’m the best in the world,” Bader said when speaking to MMA Fighting. “I believe coming up to heavyweight, I can shine.
“That’s where I feel the best in terms of being agile, speed, cardio, all that kind of stuff plus I have the power. It was nice to get that recognition, too, so now I just have to go out there and continue to prove it.”
Although a cross-promotion fight with former rival Cormier was touted, the move never happened.
But Bader has no doubts as to how a fight against current heavyweight champ Miocic would end.
“I know Stipe, I trained with him a little bit. He’s a good guy but I feel I match up with him well. I feel I match up with all of those guys well,” Bader said.
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“It’s not like these guys who just fought for the UFC heavyweight championship were huge guys cutting down from 290 [pounds] to 265 and they’re cardio machines or what not.
“They’re my weight. I feel great about any of those matchups.”