Fans could be in for an enticing showdown as speculation circulates about a welterweight title bout between Leon Edwards and Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 300.
The British fighter was slated to defend his title for the third time against the rightful challenger Belal Muhammad at the April showcase in Las Vegas.
But, former UFC star Chael Sonnen suggested that Edwards might instead face the 35-year-old Hall of Famer, given his coach’s recent revelation of a return to training.
“Coach Javier Mendez, owner and leader of the American Kickboxing Academy, came out in an interview and said that Khabib is back training with me,” Sonnen said on YouTube.
“He said, ‘Khabib always goes to practice, but he only trains with me when he’s getting ready for a fight.’ And that is all I know.”
Nurmagomedov retired in 2020 after defeating Justin Gaethje at UFC 254, concluding with an impressive 29-0 professional record and establishing himself as one of the era’s most dominant fighters.
Mendez’s comments prompt speculation about a sensational comeback, with Sonnen theorising that UFC 300 could be a significant factor.
“There is some reason that Leon versus Belal did not get made. It was expected and it was planned. Something became available.
“This is nothing more than a rumour but it’s a rumour that came from coach Mendez who’s training him. Who says, ‘I don’t train him unless it’s for a fight.’ It’s fascinating.” he added.
“You know he’s not going to come back at [lightweight], and the very first association went, of course, to Canada. Of course, it went to Georges St-Pierre.
“And that sure would be a super-fight, but how do you put on top of the bill a non-title when it’s your biggest bill that you’ve ever booked? It’s an interesting situation.
“There is a reason that Belal and Leon isn’t booked and that might come around, but if that comes around that’s because the reason I speak of fell out.
“But there is a reason. Khabib is training for a reason. Khabib is not fighting at 155 pounds ever again and Dana [White]’s not putting on UFC 300 without a title on top of the bill,” he concluded
Meanwhile, Edwards confirmed that he will defend his title at UFC 300 later this year, having triumphed over Colby Covington by unanimous decision at UFC 296.