Dana White says lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will fight either Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje in September/October.
Nurmagomedov was supposed to face Ferguson on April 18 before the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent travel issues forced his withdrawal from the card. Gaethje stepped in and the UFC put the interim 155lb title on the line before the event was scrapped due to government pressure. The lightweight contenders will now meet at UFC 249 which is set to take place on May 9 in Jacksonville, Florida. According to White, the winner will face off against Nurmagomedov later this year.
“The Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight is one of the most violent fights you will see,” White told ESPN on Instagram Live. “I can guarantee that. This fight is going to be incredible. The winner will fight Khabib for the title. This is for the interim. 100 percent (the winner fights Khabib).”
One of the many issues standing in the way of the undefeated lightweight champion returning to the cage is the fact he has just begun observing Ramadan. Nurmagomedov has previously spoke about the dangers of training too hard or fighting during the holy month, he said
“Ramadan, I take like a little bit off training – but I’m still (MMA) training, too,” Nurmagomedov said at Dominance MMA’s media day this past Saturday in Las Vegas (via MMA Junkie). “I spend this time with family, parents, go to the mosque, pray, and day (to) night fasting. And, of course, we’re training, too.
“It’s very hard and very dangerous, too. All day, you don’t drink and you don’t eat. Injuries can come. That’s why we (don’t have) too much contact, and without sparring. It’s still hard.”
Despite this Nurmagomedov has said he could be ready to fight in August, but the UFC boss seems to think the 155lb king will need a little longer. “Khabib will be back in September or October,” White said. (Transcribed by MMA Junkie)
Who do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will be facing on his return later this year?