Khabib Nurmagomedov’s “Hearing” UFC’s Looking at New Opponent For Tony Ferguson, Due to Travel Ban in Russia
By FCF Staff
Dana White has repeatedly said the UFC will find a way to host UFC 249, April 18th. But, it looks if that actually happens, headliner Khabib Nurmagomedov may not be competing.
Recently Nurmagomedov headed back from the United States to his native Dagestan to complete his training camp for UFC 249.
The lightweight champ is booked to fight Tony Ferguson at the event, which was initially scheduled to take place in Brooklyn, before public gatherings were banned in the jurisdiction.
Since then, however, Russia enacted a travel ban due to the coronavirus pandemic. UFC fighter Magomed Ankalaev had reported he had heard Nurmagomedov left the country prior to the ban. But, during an Instagram Live chat this past weekend, the lightweight champ confirmed he’s still in Russia (quotes via RT Sport).
“We were training in the AKA without any information regarding the fight, where and how is it going to happen.”
“Then the UFC told us that the fight 100% isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99% that it will happen in Emirates, Abu Dhabi.
“After talking to the UFC we decided to fly over to the Emirates a month before the fight. I don’t remember the exact date, it was 19th or 20th, I’ll have to check. But when we landed in Emirates we learned that they are going to close borders. And no one will be able to leave or fly in, with exception for residents.
“So we had to fly back to Russia. Currently I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day. Although I don’t know what am I preparing for. Because after we came to Russia we also learned that the borders are going to be locked. Same like in the States, same like in Europe, Emirates, everywhere. The whole world is in quarantine right now.”
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it with or without me. OK, go ahead,” he said.
“Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren’t getting any money.
“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will.
“The UFC told me that this fight 100% isn’t happening in the USA, and even if it’s not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. By that time I already spent 5 weeks of hard training in the AKA.”
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been booked to fight five times to date. Four of the bookings have fallen through due to medical issues and injuries.