The mixed martial arts (MMA) world was thrown yet another stick of dynamite earlier this month when it was revealed that undefeated UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov would not be fighting Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 due to COVID-19 travel restrictions
The effects of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic are certainly understandable and take precedence over everything else, but it was the fifth time that a Khabib vs. Ferguson matchup fell apart, leaving fight fans sick to their stomachs. Ferguson was subsequently re-booked to fight Justin Gaethje for the interim UFC lightweight title on April 18, which has since been rescheduled again for UFC’s upcoming return event on May 9 (full details HERE).
While fight fans will get to see some Octagon action in a matter of weeks —putting an end to the brutal sports layoff — many are wondering when Khabib will make his return to the cage. The UFC schedule isn’t completely hashed out at this time so it’s difficult to pinpoint an exact date, but UFC president Dana White is targeting September or October for the return of Khabib, per a recent interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto.
Dana White tells @bokamotoESPN that they are targeting September or October for Khabib Nurmagomedov’s return.
He also confirms that UFC 249 will take place in Florida and that social distancing and screening will be implemented.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) April 24, 2020
That’s all well and good but fight fans still don’t know who Nurmagomedov is going to fight. With Ferguson scheduled to meet Gaethje at the new UFC 249 to determine the interim lightweight champion, Khabib would have to face the winner. But considering these Khabib vs. Ferguson matchups only seem to end in chaos maybe something else ends up coming to fruition (like the rematch of all rematches).
Nurmagomedov, 31, is coming off a masterful title defense at UFC 242 in which he stopped Dustin Poirier via third-round submission. The undefeated UFC lightweight champion now sports an insane 28-0 professional MMA record with 12 wins coming inside of the Octagon. Whenever “Eagle” decides to soar again he’s going to be well-prepared and arguably better than ever.