Daniel Cormier did not expect to see Khabib Nurmagomedov return so soon against Justin Gaethje.
Cormier, a former heavyweight and light-heavyweight champion, touched on his AKA cohort's comeback in an interview with MMAJunkie's Mike Bohn.
“I was a little nervous initially,” Cormier said. “Not nervous, I was taken a little aback. After I did the show (for ESPN talking about it) I had heard that Khabib was looking more at getting going sooner than later. So, when the announcement was made, it didn’t surprise me because I had an inclination it was going to happen. But I thought he would be away for a while. But nothing makes me happier than my champion coming back and defending his belt.”
Nurmagomedov and Gaethje were expected to unify their lightweight and interim lightweight titles, respectively. The timeline for that fight was uncertain, however, following the death of Nurmagomedov's father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov.
UFC 254 is headlined by Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje on October 24. A clash between top middleweight contenders is also marked for the event as Robert Whittaker fights Jared Cannonier. Keep up with Fightful for up-to-date live coverage.