Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje have faced off ahead of UFC 254.
On Saturday, October 24, Nurmagomedov and Gaethje will collide in a lightweight title unification bout. Nurmagomedov holds the main 155-pound championship, while Gaethje is the interim titleholder. The title fight will take place inside the Flash Forum on Yas Island in Abu Dhabi.
The UFC held a press conference three days before the card. It ended with Nurmagomedov and Gaethje engaging in a staredown.
FOR THE UNDISPUTED TITLE.
— UFC (@ufc) October 21, 2020
Nurmagomedov hasn’t competed since September 2019. He defeated Dustin Poirier via submission in the fourth round. This was his second successful UFC title defense.
Nurmagomedov’s pro MMA record is an impressive 28-0. He’s nabbed 10 submissions and eight wins via knockout or TKO. He is a part of the highest drawing UFC pay-per-view for his UFC 229 main event against Conor McGregor back in October 2018. That event drew 2.4 million PPV buys.
As for Gaethje, he’s riding a four-fight winning streak. In his last outing, Gaethje ended the 12-fight winning streak of Tony Ferguson with a fifth-round TKO finish. During his streak, Gaethje has beaten Ferguson, Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. All of those bouts ended via knockout or TKO.
There is a backup plan in place for the main event of UFC 254. Former three-time Bellator Lightweight Champion Michael Chandler will be on standby in case either Nurmagomedov or Gaethje are forced off the card.
UFC 254 will also feature a pivotal middleweight collision. Former UFC Middleweight Champion Robert Whittaker will collide with Jared Cannonier.