Nurmagomedov is scheduled to put his UFC lightweight championship on the line against Tony Ferguson on April 18. The bout was initially set to be held inside the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. That is no longer the case as an executive order has been placed to ban large gatherings in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
Could Dubai Play Host To Khabib vs. Ferguson?
In an interview with RBC Sports, Khabib’s father, Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov said that Dubai may be the frontrunner to hold UFC 249 (via Google Translate).
“Most likely it will be Dubai. Firstly, it’s easier to fight diseases because of the heat. And I think the Emirates will pay for the UFC fight faster and easier, ”said Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov, adding that the fight with Ferguson in Russia is excluded.
Abdulmanap went on to say that while Abu Dhabi could be in the running, the decision ultimately falls on UFC president Dana White.
“Abu Dhabi may well be, but then, Dana White [would have to agree]. I can’t approve, but there are more chances there, ”he told RBC.
White had hoped to move events impacted by the coronavirus pandemic to the UFC Apex in Las Vegas. Those plans were quickly shut down when the Nevada State Athletic Commission suspended all sporting events. White has said that Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson is still a go but it may not take place in the United States.
If Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson does indeed materialize, then it’ll be the third time “The Eagle” puts his 155-pound gold up for grabs. He’s had successful title defenses against Dustin Poirier and Conor McGregor. Both bouts ended in a submission victory for Nurmagomedov.
As for Ferguson, this would be his first shot at the undisputed UFC lightweight championship. “El Cucuy” is a former interim UFC lightweight title holder. While Ferguson was never defeated for the gold, he was stripped of the title after suffering an injury.