UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next title defense is being planned for February or March of 2020, according to his manager.
Rizvan Magomedov told Tass Agency that Nurmagomedov will likely fight early next year. According to a report by ChannelOne Russia, the champ is interested in fighting at Gazprom Arena in St. Petersburg, Russia. That Arena has a capacity of 75,000, which could potentially make it the UFC’s most attended fight if that indeed happens.
MMA journalist Aaron Bronsteter shared the news of Nurmagomedov’s plans on Twitter.
Khabib mentioned in an interview with @channelone_rus that he'd like
it to be at Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg, which holds 75,000.
— Aaron Bronsteter (@aaronbronsteter) September 26, 2019
“According to Russian outlet @tassagency_en, Khabib Nurmagomedov’s next bout is being targeted for February or March per his manager @Rizvan_RM. Khabib mentioned in an interview with @channelone_rus that he’d like it to be at Gazprom Arena in St Petersburg, which holds 75,000.”
Despite being by far the most popular Russian fighter in the UFC, and one of the most popular Russian athletes on the planet, Nurmagomedov has yet to compete inside the Octagon on his native soil. That could change soon.
If Nurmagomedov gets his way, his next fight will be in Russia. It’s likely that Tony Ferguson, who is the No. 1 contender in the UFC lightweight division, would get the next crack at his belt, though you can’t completely discount the UFC giving the title shot to Conor McGregor in an effort to sell out 75,000 seats and break attendance records.
This news about Nurmagomedov fighting early next year should all but write off any possibility of him fighting at UFC 245 this December. The UFC is likely to announce UFC welterweight champion Kamaru Usman vs. Colby Covington in the main event of that card, and with three title fights now scheduled for it, there’s no more room for Nurmagomedov.
Do you think Khabib Nurmagomedov should get his wish and see his next fight take place in his native Russia?
This article first appeared on BJPENN.COM on 9/26/2019.