Dana White plans on having Khabib Nurmagomedov fight in September of October against the winner of Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov was expected to return to the Octagon at UFC 249 on April 18 against Ferguson. Yet, the COVID-19 pandemic halted those plans as the champion couldn’t get out of Russia, and the event was eventually canceled entirely.
Now, in the main event of UFC 249 on May 9, Ferguson will fight Gaethje for the interim lightweight title. It is a fascinating fight and the plan is to have the winner face Nurmagomedov in the fall.
The Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight is one of the most violent fights you will see,” White told ESPN on Instagram Live (h/t MMAJunkie). “I can guarantee that. This fight is going to be incredible. The winner will fight Khabib for the title. This is for the interim. 100 percent (the winner fights Khabib).”
Khabib Nurmagomedov has not fought since UFC 242 when he submitted Dustin Poirier to defend his belt. Before that, he beat Conor McGregor for his first title defense after winning the vacant title against Al Iaquinta.
Tony Ferguson, meanwhile, is riding an incredible 12-fight winning streak with notable wins over Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, Kevin Lee, and Rafael dos Anjos. He also is the former interim champ but was stripped after injuring his knee.
Justin Gaethje enters this fight on a three-fight winning streak where he won all by first-round knockout. This will be the first time he fights for a UFC belt whether it be undisputed or interim.
It should come as no surprise that the winner will fight Nurmagomedov. Yet, many wondered if McGregor could jump the queue which appears to not be the case.
Would you rather see Khabib Nurmagomedov fight Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje in the fall? Sound off in the comment section, PENN Nation!
This article first appeared on BJPENN.com on 4/24/2020.