Lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is scheduled to defend his title against Tony Ferguson on April 18. The contest is expected to headline of UFC 249 fight card live on pay-per-view.
After Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY fell off, the new location for a highly anticipated matchup is still (yet) to be announced. This is due to coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, which led to restrictions on mass gatherings and travel ban, including Russia, that is reportedly set to shut its borders on Monday.
“So now I am hearing that they are looking to organize it [UFC 249] with or without me,” said Khabib Nurmagomedov on Instagram Live (transcribed by Daily Mail). “OK, go ahead.”
“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony [Ferguson], because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will.”
It was previously reported that UFC 249 could be held in the UAE. For the final weeks of his fight preparation Khabib Nurmagomedov returned to Dagestan, Russia.
“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.”
“Now I don’t really know what’s going on.”
“It’s really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don’t know what you are preparing for. But it’s not the first time I face obstacles in my career.”
Late last week Dana White said he had four or five locations to potentially accommodate UFC 249. The official announcement is expected to be made shortly.