Dana White has confirmed that the winner of UFC 249’s new main event between Justin Gaethje and Tony Ferguson will receive the next shot at Khabib Nurmagomedov.
‘The Eagle’ was originally slated to put his undisputed UFC lightweight world title on the line against Ferguson in the April 18 headliner. However, due to travel restrictions, the undefeated champion was forced to withdraw from the card while remaining in Russia.
The new location and venue for UFC 249 have yet to be officially announced by the promotion. Dana White recently revealed that future events could actually take place on a private island.
Stepping in for Khabib Nurmagomedov at UFC 249 is fellow Team Dominance MMA member and surging lightweight contender Justin Gaethje.
‘The Highlight’ will bring a three fight win streak to the table when he faces ‘El Cucuy’ in less than two weeks. Gaethje is coming off three consecutive knockout victories over opponents James Vick, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone.
Should he defeat Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 for the promotions interim lightweight title, Justin Gaethje would then be the next man to challenge Khabib Nurmagomedov, according to Dana White.
“You get Gaethje versus Tony,’ White told ESPN. “It’s the fight that makes sense. It’s two of the top guys in the world. Khabib is out, so the winner (of Gaethje vs. Ferguson) will face Khabib next.”
That news will not likely sit well with former two division UFC champion Conor McGregor, who was eager to get a rematch with ‘The Eagle’ after suffering a submission defeat to his bitter rival at UFC 229.
McGregor returned to action in stunning fashion this past January at UFC 246. The Irishman needed less than a minute to dismantle perennial contender Donald Cerrone in the event headliner. Conor’s lone option at this point appears to come in the form of a trilogy with Nate Diaz, this unless he decides to move up for fights with either Jorge Masvidal or Kamaru Usman.
The decision for the UFC to once again introduce a interim title resulted in a ton of scrutiny from fight fans. However, Dana White has remained adamant to put on events at all costs during the current Covid-19 pandemic.
What do you think of the news that the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje is guaranteed the next title shot against Khabib Nurmagomedov? Share your thoughts in the comments section PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on April 7, 2020