Khabib Nurmagomedov Doesn’t Like Fighting Without Fans
Khabib Nurmagomedov believes that fighting without fans has a weird energy.
Nurmagomedov is prepped for a title unification bout against Justin Gaethje. Nurmagomedov is the UFC Lightweight Champion, while Gaethje is the interim titleholder. The title fight is set to headline UFC 254 inside the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi. It’ll be held on Saturday, October 24.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, fans will not be allowed to attend UFC 254. This will be Nurmagomedov’s first bout inside an empty arena during his run with the UFC. Speaking to UFC Arabia, “The Eagle” admitted that he doesn’t like the feeling of competing with no fans in attendance (via MMAFighting.com).
“When I fight here at 242, one year ago, it was crazy crowd, crazy fans around the world come here, a lot of people from my family, like my father was with me. It was great time last time in Abu Dhabi when I fight and right now it’s different without fans. Honestly, this energy I don’t like. I really want to fight when the fans come back, but what can we do?”
Nurmagomedov last competed back in September 2019. He submitted Dustin Poirier in his second UFC Lightweight Title defense. He was expected to fight Tony Ferguson earlier this year but travel restrictions brought about by the pandemic forced a change in plans.
Gaethje swooped in and was able to make the most out of plans going awry. “The Highlight” ended up defeating Ferguson via fifth-round TKO to capture the interim UFC Lightweight Championship.