UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will next fight against the winner of the UFC 249 interim title bout between Tony Ferguson and Justin Gaethje.
Nurmagomedov was set to fight Ferguson at the original UFC 249 card in April before the event was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic. The UFC then called upon Gaethje to fill in on short notice against Ferguson after Nurmagomedov went home to Russia and was then unable to leave the country due to global travel restrictions.
UFC president Dana White was asked by the media before UFC 249 what the plan is moving forward for the winner of tomorrow evening’s main event. According to White, the winner of the interim title fight will indeed fight Nurmagomedov to unify the belt, and he also said that no one should blame the champ that he didn’t end up fighting at UFC 249.
“Yeah. The winner of this fight will fight Khabib,” White said of Ferguson vs. Gaethje.
“I know there was a lot of talk with different people saying different things, that Khabib should have stayed here, he should have done this, he should have done that. We all made mistakes leading up to that, including me. I made mistakes too that ended up getting him stuck in Moscow. So he didn’t do that on his own, we all had a part in that.”
Nurmagomedov said this week that he hopes to fight again in July to defend his title. That would be a quick turnaround for the winner of the Ferguson vs. Gaethje fight, but perhaps if the winner of the fight doesn’t take much damage they will be able to make a quick comeback. If not, perhaps Nurmagomedov could fight next sometime in the fall.
Who do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov will face next, Tony Ferguson or Justin Gaethje?