FILE - In this Oct. 6, 2018, file photo, Khabib Nurmagomedov is held back outside of the cage after fighting Conor McGregor in a lightweight title mixed martial arts bout at UFC 229 in Las Vegas. (AP Photo/John Locher, File)
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The last time Khabib Nurmagomedov was in an octagon, he didn't leave through the door.He's hoping to make an exit more befitting a champion this weekend.The UFC's lightweight pound-for-pound king hasn't fought in the 11 months since he punctuated his star-making victory over Conor McGregor at UFC 229 in Las Vegas by scaling the fence and jumping into the crowd to fight McGregor's entourage.Nurmagomedov returns Saturday in Abu Dhabi to face Dustin Poirier (21-5, 1 no-contest), who claimed an interim lightweight title belt during Nurmagomedov's suspension by beating Max Holloway.Unlike the theatrics around his bout last year with McGregor, Nurmagomedov has a clear mutual respect with Poirier. Once a reckless brawler, Poirier has redefined his game and reached new levels of success by fighting more intelligently.While Khabib is a significant betting favorite against Poirier, he is wary of the interim champ's impressive striking to go with a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
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