According to a report from Marcelo Barone and Raphael Marinho of Combate, a lightweight title fight between undisputed champ Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim champion Justin Gaethje is in the works for UFC 253 on September 19.
— Raphael Marinho (@raphamarinho) June 9, 2020
Khabib Nurmagomedov has ruled over the UFC lightweight division since early 2018, when he captured the vacant title with a short-notice, unanimous decision triumph over Al Iaquinta. Since winning the title, Nurmagomedov has defended it with dominant, submission victories over Conor McGregor and Dustin Poirier. Other highlights of his flawless, 28-0 overall record include lopsided triumphs over top-flight foes in Rafael dos Anjos, Michael Johnson, and Edson Barboza.
Justin Gaethje, meanwhile, captured the interim lightweight title at UFC 249 in May, when he derailed Tony Ferguson’s 12-fight unbeaten streak with a dominant, fifth-round TKO win. Ferguson was originally expected to fight Nurmagomedov on the card, but accepted short-notice interim title bout with Gaethje when Nurmagomedov got stranded in Russia due to restrictions associated with the coronavirus pandemic.
Prior to his win over Ferguson, Gaethje picked up impressive, knockout victories over Donald Cerrone, Edson Barboza, and James Vick. This streak was preceded by a pair of knockout losses to Dustin Poirier and Eddie Alvarez, and a win over Michael Johnson in his UFC debut. Gaethje, the former World Series of Fighting lightweight champion, owns a solid overall record of 22-2.
The location of UFC 253, the planned setting of this Nurmagomedov vs. Gaethje fight, is not yet known. That being said, the UFC Apex facility in Las Vegas and the promotion’s Fight Island (Yas island in Abu Dhabi) are undoubtedly the frontrunners to host the event.
Who do you think will come out on top when Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje unify their titles at UFC 253 this September? Make your picks in the comments section below.