Khabib Nurmagomedov’s latest injury setback has left the Dagestani fighter fearing that he may never be able to return to fighting in the Octagon.

The 27 year-old pulled out of his intended match-up with Tony Ferguson earlier this week due to a rib injury, and after having already spent 18 months on the sidelines with knee injuries it’s clear that he’s starting to feel down on his luck.

“I broke a rib and once again retired from the fight, I really wanted to come back, I’m not sure I’ll be back at all ever,” Nurmagomedov wrote on Instagram. “I want to apologize to my fans. 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. Thanks to my fans and my sponsors.”

It’s troubling to hear Nurmagomedov talk in that manner, though it may well be that he’s just venting his frustration at his latest setback rather than truly believing that his MMA career could be over.

It would certainly be a cruel blow if his career was cut short as he currently holds a 22-0 career record featuring six wins in a row in the UFC which includes a win over current lightweight champion Rafael dos Anjos in 2014. Still ranked No.3 in the division, Nurmagomedov is one of the most feared fighters at 155lbs and appeared to be destined for a title shot before physical ailments got in the way.

Here’s hoping he makes a speedy recovery and gets back into the Octagon where he belongs sooner rather than later in 2016.

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