Despite three upcoming UFC events have been cancelled due to coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic, a highly anticipated lightweight championship bout between Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson is still featured on the schedule. The pair is expected to square off on the original date of April 18 (April 19 AEDT), battling it out in the headliner of UFC 249. Yet, the venue accommodating the show might be changed, and the pay-per-view fight card could be moved from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY to a to be determined location. UFC President Dana White has shared an update with SportsCenter on ESPN.
“Tony Ferguson versus Khabib, April 18, is still on and that will still happen,” Dana White said. “This fight is gonna happen, no crowd, whatever it takes, probably not even gonna be in the United States but this fight’s gonna happen.”
The previous UFC event last weekend was held in Brasilia, Brazil behind the closed doors with only essential personnel in attendance, up to 100 people. The scheduled three Fight Night cards in London, Columbus and Portland have been cancelled after a ban on gatherings of more than 10 people was established in the US.
Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) is a reigning UFC lightweight champion, who is coming off the win by submission in the third round against Dustin Poirier.
Tony Ferguson (25-3) is a former interim titleholder, who won his previous bout by TKO in the second-round against Donald Cerrone.
Nurmagomedov and Ferguson have been previous booked four times from 2015 to 2018. Each time the contest fell off due to weight cut issues and injuries to both competitors.