After all the reigning lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov (28-0) is still ready to face the number one contender Tony Ferguson (25-3) at UFC 249 on April 19 (AEDT). “The Eagle” is, however, stuck in Dagestan, Russia, that shut its borders amid coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis.
Earlier this week Nurmagomedov posted on Instagram that he was “upset more than you to cancel the fight”. In an interview with ESPN’s Brett Okamoto the day after he said he was “going to fight 100%” as long as UFC President Dana White sent him the new location of the bout, and he had a possibility to leave Russia.
The original UFC 249 location, Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY, fell off amid coronavirus pandemic, that led to ban on public events and international travel.
“Like right now, if they give me location, if I can come out from Russia and I can go to in any countries, like US, Abu Dhabi, doesn’t matter – I’m gonna fight one hundred percent. One hundred percent, I am gonna fight. Just give me location,” Khabib Nurmagomedov said. “Everyday I send Dana White message: ‘Hey, where is my location?’ You know, this is not my mistake. You know, too many crazy stuff, too many questions, I don’t have answer [sic].”
“I understand people [are] upset because this fight, this is like dream fight for fans. This is my dream fight,” Nurmagomedov continued. “I lose money, I lose so much money. I lose so much things. Nobody lose like I lose. Nobody.”
“I wanna fight. This why I chose this. Because this is hard fight. Because this is legacy fight. Biggest this is number one fight for fans. Biggest fight in UFC right now. Of course, I can chose easy fight with chicken [Conor McGregor], but I chose hard fight. Everything that happen – I cannot control this.”
Tony Ferguson reacted on cancellation of the fight saying that the promotion should strip Khabib Nurmagomedov off his belt. Conor McGregor posted a tweet declaring “El Cucuy” the winner in “Chicken Game” with 3-2 score in pull outs.
Prior to UFC 249, the Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson fight was cancelled four times.