UFC officials confirmed the bout to ESPN.com on Thursday. Nurmagomedov (22-0) was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson in a highly anticipated five-round main event at Amalie Arena in Tampa, but Ferguson was forced to withdraw due to injury. The new bout will take place at a 160-pound catchweight.
Nurmagomedov, 27, hasn't fought since he defeated now-champion Rafael dos Anjos nearly two years ago via unanimous decision. Originally from Dagestan, Nurmagomedov is 6-0 in the UFC and trains out of American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose.
After Ferguson withdrew from the event earlier this week, former lightweight title challenger Donald Cerrone offered to accept the fight against Nurmagomedov. Sources close to Cerrone said he wanted the fight, but would not have been able to cut to 155 pounds in time. Nurmagomedov stated on social media that he was willing to take the fight at any weight, but ultimately the UFC booked him against Horcher instead.
Ferguson (20-3), who is riding a seven-fight winning streak, would still like to fight Nurmagomedov as soon as he has recovered. The 32-year-old was forced to withdraw due to blood in his lungs. His manager, Audie Attar, told ESPN.com that he should be able to return by May.
Horcher (12-1) boasts six career wins by knockout.