Khabib Nurmagomedov could be making his much-awaited octagon return this September to unify the lightweight titles with interim champion, Justin Gaethje.
Undefeated in 28 professional fights, the Russian fighter was scheduled to defend his title against Tony Ferguson at the original UFC 249 card in April. Unfortunately, he needed to withdraw from the event as he would not be able to fly to the United States due to travel ban.
Gaethje stepped in as the replacement and shocked the world in Florida when he destroyed Ferguson in a five-round contest to capture the interim lightweight title.
The newly crowned interim champion has expressed his desire to lock horns with Nurmagomedov, saying he wants to represent the US in a showdown against “Russia’s best”.
Last month, Dana White claimed the unification bout will go down on Fight Island, potentially this summer, but now it appears there has been a change of plans for the UFC, with Khabib recently facing a major setback.
BREAKING: Khabib vs Gaethje finalized for UFC 253 on September 19th. pic.twitter.com/ICBl0oqhzh
— DailySportsDosage (@SportsDsd) June 9, 2020
Ready To Go
The UFC president shared Khabib has committed to face Gaethje in September while Ferguson is expected to take some time off after his shocking loss.
“So yesterday when I talked to [Khabib] — we were going to send out bout agreements yesterday. There were a couple of weird things that happened yesterday and didn’t end up getting it done apparently,” White said..
“But we’re talking about doing Gaethje vs. Khabib in September. Cause I talked to Khabib yesterday and he said September, ‘I’m ready to go in September.’”
“So we’re gonna do Khabib and Gaethje in September. Tony Ferguson, I’d like to see take some time off after that fight on Saturday. We’ll see what happens this summer with Conor.”
Ok now here we go
Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Justin Gaethje Headlines UFC 253 https://t.co/xUp0cfN3wP
— Sean Ross Sapp of Fightful.com (@SeanRossSapp) June 9, 2020
UFC 253 Headliner
Now, a recent reported from Brazilian media outlet, Combate, claimed the lightweight unification bout will headline the UFC 253 pay-per-view event on September 19, with the promotion currently finalizing the deal.
‘The Eagle’ hasn’t fought since submitting Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 in September 2019 in Abu Dhabi. Prior to this victory, Khabib scored the biggest win of his career by defeating ‘The Notorious’ Conor McGregor in their blockbuster lightweight title fight at UFC 229, which topped the record for the highest pay-per-view buys in UFC history.
The lightweight champion said he continues to train everyday for his Octagon return. This is despite the current health status of his father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, who was placed in coma due to complications from pneumonia and after undergoing heart surgery.
Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov’s father remains hospitalized in critical condition https://t.co/foeJNWLXGr
— Bloody Elbow (@BloodyElbow) June 9, 2020
(Featured Image Source: Instagram/ Khabib and UFC)