Dana White has taken responsibility—at least in part—for Khabib Nurmagomedov withdrawing from UFC 249.
Nurmagomedov, the undisputed UFC lightweight champ, was originally expected to defend his title against Tony Ferguson on April 18. Unfortunately, Nurmagomedov ultimately wound up getting stuck in his native Russia due to travel restrictions stemming from the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC then called upon Justin Gaethje to step in against Ferguson in an interim title fight, which will go down in a rescheduled UFC 249 card on May 9.
When Nurmagomedov was forced out of the fight with Ferguson, many fans were quick to point fingers. White, however, assures it was not the champion’s fault.
“I’m sure you saw today, Khabib posted, ‘Hey, as soon as Ramadan is over, I’m ready to roll,’” White told BT Sport on Thursday (h/t MMA Fighting). “There was a lot of questioning Khabib, people were saying ‘Oh he got trapped in Russia’ or whatever; what he said is absolutely true. None of us saw coming what happened and how fast it was rapidly changing and the world was literally changing by the day. We all made some bad decisions that got him stuck in Moscow. It wasn’t just him, we all did. I take responsibility for that too.
“It happened, and you know what we get out of that? We get Gaethje versus Ferguson, which is gonna be absolutely ridiculous.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov has been scheduled to fight Tony Ferguson a preposterous five times to no avail. The champ is currently a flawless 28-0 as a professional fighter—easily the most impressive undefeated record in the sport at present. Highlights of his resume include recent victories over top-flight opposition such as Dustin Poirier, Conor McGregor, Al Iaquinta, Edson Barboza, Michael Johnson and Rafael dos Anjos.
All signs point to Nurmagomedov fighting the Gaethje-Ferguson winner in the near future, perhaps as soon as this summer.
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 5/8/2020.This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM