If all goes according to plan, two top lightweight fighters will get a chance to face off against one another before the end of the year.
UFC President Dana White ended up telling CNN that UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje could end up fighting on October 24. This comes after an initial report had the two fighting one another by September.
“It’s going to happen, tell you right here right now. That fight is going to happen,” White stated.
Nurmagomedov (28-0) last fight in September 2019, beating Dustin Poirier to unify the UFC Lightweight Title. Before that, he faced Conor McGregor at UFC 242 and was suspended following a brawl with McGregor and his team. Original plans had Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson facing off at the original UFC 249 in Brooklyn back in April. Due to the coronavirus, Nurmagomedov ended up returning to Russia to quarantine.
A future fight would have had to be delayed as a result of Khabib celebrating Ramadan. The status of Khabib has been questioned recently due to his father dying as a result of complications from COVID-19. Ali Abdelaziz, Khabib’s manager, stated the champion will not be retiring, however. White would end up saying he is willing to give Khabib as much time as he needed to come back.
“It’s been very rough on him,” White went on to say. “His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very close relationship and it was very hard on him.”
Gaethje (22-2) beat Ferguson at UFC 249 to win the interim UFC Lightweight Title. Landing over 100 significant strikes, “The Highlight’s” left hook was able to badly bruise the face of Ferguson. The referee called the fight off in the fifth round, awarding Gaethje the win. It was his fourth win in a row, and he is now 5-2 in the UFC.
There are quite a few things to work on regarding a fight, including location. As of now, the UFC has been hosting events in Las Vegas and “Fight Island” as a result of the coronavirus. The latter may end up being a premier destination for the bout if COVID-19 restrictions return to the United States.