The first-ever Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) event staged in Russia is set to go down this September in the country’s capital. With a number of Russian fighters currently fighting in the promotion, none is as esteemed among fight fans in the Federation as Khabib Nurmagomedov, who will be expected to headline what promises to be a huge event.
The big question on most fans’ lips will involve his potential opponent for his first UFC fight in his home country.
Staff at Moscow’s 35,000 capacity Olympiyskiy Stadium (Olympic Stadium) confirmed to RT Sport that the UFC has booked dates for September 14 and 15. Khabib Nurmagomedov would, barring injury or unforeseen circumstances, be almost guaranteed to headline the event. While the UFC has yet to confirm the news, it is no secret that the promotion has been hatching plans for moving into the Russian market for some time.
UFC lightweight champion Conor McGregor, who is yet to defend his crown despite winning the title at UFC 205 in November 2016, is certainly top of the list of potential opponents. However, with Tony Ferguson currently holding the division’s interim title, there is something of a dilemma as to how a bout with McGregor and Nurmagomedov can happen without addressing the Ferguson issue.
Ali Abdelaziz, who represents Nurmagomedov, indicated that his fighter would not be interested in fighting for an interim belt (via MMAFighting.com):
“Khabib’s next fight, we’re not fighting for no damn interim belt. We want the real belt, or we don’t want nothing. We appreciate everything the UFC has done for us, but it’s time for a real belt. Nobody is interested in fighting for a fake belt. Tony Ferguson has a fake belt. Nobody wants this.”