UFC president Dana White insists Khabib Nurmagomedov will face the winner of Tony Ferguson’s UFC 249 showdown with Justin Gaethje. The undefeated Nurmagomedov was supposed to be in action last weekend in the main event of the UFC’s fourth pay-per-view card of the year.
The coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions imposed by his native Russia, however, scuppered hisclash with Ferguson before the UFC were forced to pull the plug on the card.
Prior to cancelling the event, the UFC booked Ferguson in an interim lightweight title fight with Gaethje – with a view to the winner facing Nurmagomedov in a unification fight in the autumn.
UFC 249 has been rescheduled for May 9 and will take place at the VyStar Veterans Memorial Arena in Jacksonville, Florida, with the state’s boxing commission sanctioning the event.
And according to White, the victor of next month’s card will indeed face the undisputed lightweight king.
He said: “There’ll be three fight cards; May 9, May 13 and May 16.”
Despite the ongoing global pandemic, which has forced the UFC to postpone six shows, White insists several fighters on the roster are keen to compete.
“They want to fight,” he said. “People are hitting us up and want to fight.
“We’re putting together three cards in a week. People who want to fight are going to get fights.”
Shortly after the UFC were forced to postpone UFC 249, White was adamant he’d secure a venue willing to host events in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak and that promotion would be the first major sporting organisation to resume service.
“We’ll be the first ones back,” White told ESPN shortly after he announced the postponement of UFC 249.
“Fight Island is coming, all the good stuff. It’s coming, man.
“We’ll get this thing squared away, get a date from ESPN, and we’ll be back first and we’ll get these fights going that everybody wants to see.”