UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was scheduled to fight on April 18 against Tony Ferguson. The fight was supposed to take place in Brooklyn, New York.
With New York City becoming the epicenter of the outbreak, the fight had to be relocated last month itself. The UFC was still searching for the venue, but ultimately, Khabib was stuck in Russia as international flights were shut down. As a result, he had to announce his withdrawal from the fight.
Now Justin Gaethje has stepped up to fight Tony Ferguson. They were scheduled to fight on April 18 at the Tachi Palace Resort and Casino in Leemore, California. The event couldn’t go through because of the political pressure from Gavin Newsom, ESPN, and Disney.
However, the fight will now take place at the Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida. The winner of the fight will face Khabib Nurmagomedov in September.
“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).” Dana White said via Instagram live. (h/t MMAJunkie).
Tony Ferguson is coming off of a stoppage win over Donald Cerrone and he is also currently riding on a 12-fight winning streak in the UFC. On the other hand, Justin Gaethje is also riding on three first-round TKO victories.
Khabib Nurmagomedov wants to return by September
A few weeks ago, Khabib took to Instagram to announce that he was interested in fighting again in September.
“But September is not so far away, although it’s hard to believe that everything will end by September, but still one serious person said that in peacetime it is necessary to prepare for war – How are your days going?” – Khabib wrote.
Khabib is coming off of a third-round submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 last September. Prior to that, he defeated Conor McGregor via rear-naked choke submission in the fourth round.