Report: Khabib Nurmagomedov Stuck In Russia, UFC Looking At Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje

Image: @tonyfergusonxt @khabibnurmagomedov Instagram
Image: @tonyfergusonxt @khabibnurmagomedov Instagram

Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson Fight Remains Cursed

A lightweight title fight between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson looks like it will remain cursed forever.

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Dana White remained resolute in his plans for the pair to compete at UFC 249 on April 18 in a location likely to be outside the United States due to government restrictions.

Nurmagomedov recently went back to Russia to complete his training camp. However, with Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin enforcing a cross-border travel ban starting this week, “The Eagle” is now stuck in his home country.

To make matters worse, he revealed Monday morning that he was initially going to Abu Dhabi more than a week ago as that’s where he was told by the UFC that the fight with Ferguson would take place. However, the nation closed their borders forcing Nurmagomedov to go back to Russia.

“We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen,” Khabib said in an Instagram live session (via RT Sport). “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in Emirates, Abu Dhabi.

”After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents.

”So we had to fly back to Russia. Currently I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day. Although I don’t know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.”

Nurmagomedov went on to add that he believed the UFC were looking for a new opponent for Ferguson.

“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead,” he added. “Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it. I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money.

“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will. The UFC told me that this fight 100% isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time I already spent 5 weeks of hard training in the AKA. Now I don’t really know what’s going on. It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for. But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”

ESPN’s Ariel Helwani reported the UFC is indeed looking at alternate plans having offered Ferguson a fight with top contender Justin Gaethje — winner of his last three fights. No decision has been made as of yet nor is there a location.

This will now be the fifth time a fight between Nurmagomedov and Ferguson has failed to come to fruition.

Published on March 30, 2020 at 11:38 am
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