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Khabib Nurmagomedov Forced off TUF 22 Finale vs. Tony Ferguson with Injured Rib

Nathan McCarter@McCarterNFeatured ColumnistOctober 30, 2015

Fighter Khabib Nurmagomedov from the US gestures as he weighs-in for the Ultimate Fighting Championship, UFC, in Sao Paulo, Brazil, Friday, Jan. 18, 2013. Nurmagomedov will compete in UFC in Sao Paulo on Jan. 19. (AP Photo/Andre Penner)
Andre Penner/Associated Press

The Ultimate Fighter 22 finale took a bit of a ding early Friday morning when MMAFighting.com reported that Khabib Nurmagomedov (22-0) was forced out of his bout against Tony Ferguson (19-3).

The lightweight fight had major title implications. Nurmagomedov is ranked as the No. 3 contender, and Ferguson comes in at No. 8. Nurmagomedov was knocking on the door to a title shot following a dominant performance over now-UFC champion Rafael dos Anjos in 2014, but injuries have plagued his attempt to capture gold.

Damon Martin @DamonMartin

Khabib on Instagram: "I broke my rib, and again I am out of the fight. I really wanted to come back, I'm not sure if i will ever come back."

An injured rib will sideline Nurmagomedov from a possible title eliminator.

There is no word on how long the injury will keep him on the outside looking in, but after a couple knee surgeries and more than a year away from active competition, this is another crushing blow to the stellar lightweight.

If you are searching for a silver lining, the report claims sources are saying the UFC is tabbing No. 6-ranked contender Edson Barboza (16-3) as Nurmagomedov's replacement for the event. That potential fight would also have major title implications at 155 pounds.

Barboza is 3-1 in his last four bouts, with the loss coming to Michael Johnson in February. Ferguson, on the other hand, is riding a six-fight win streak into the event.

Champion Rafael dos Anjos defends the title on December 19 in Orlando, Florida, against No. 2-ranked contender Donald Cerrone. The timing would put the winner of Barboza vs. Ferguson in prime position to announce himself as the next rightful challenger.

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The Ultimate Fighter 22 finale will take place on December 11 at The Chelsea at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas. Headlining the event is the featherweight title eliminator between Frankie Edgar and Chad Mendes.

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