UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov was supposed to defend the gold against former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony Ferguson in the main event of UFC 249, but Nurmagomedov would pull out of the fight due to the coronavirus pandemic.
However, it appears that the coveted UFC 249 main event can still happen, as Nurmagomedov says he’s still willing to fight Ferguson at the show, as long as the UFC provides the lightweight champion with a location for the event.
“Right now, if they give me location, if I can come out from Russia … I’m going to fight,” he said to Brett Okamoto of ESPN (via Mike Bohn of MMA Junkie). “One hundred percent. Just give me location.”
Florida is the leading location for the event, based on some betting sites, but no official announcement has been made by the UFC at this time.
Justin Gaethje has also been tapped to replace Nurmagomedov at the event according to various reports, but no announcement has been made at this time.
The UFC has previously postponed three events (UFC Fight Night London, UFC Fight Night Columbus and UFC Fight Night Portland) due to the coronavirus, but UFC 249 was supposed to kickstart the promotion’s return to a full time schedule according to UFC President Dana White.
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, April 18 from a location to be announced with Tony Ferguson and an opponent to be announced headlining. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.