UFC Lightweight Champion Khabib Nurmagomedov may miss next month’s UFC 249 card due to the lockdown in Russia because of the coronavirus, but the UFC may already have a replacement in mind to face Tony Ferguson and that fighter is Justin Gaethje.
Ariel Helwani of ESPN first reported the news and the bout is still expected to serve as the main event of the show.
Ferguson (25-3-0) will enter the bout while in the midst of a twelve fight winning streak and he hasn’t been defeated in over seven years. Ferguson is a former UFC Interim Lightweight Champion, defeating Kevin Lee to win the gold at UFC 216. Ferguson was the lightweight winner of the UFC Ultimate Fighter 13, defeating Ramsey Nijem by first round knockout in the finals of the reality show.
Gaethje (21-2-0) would enter the contest riding a three fight winning streak, defeating the trio of James Vick, Edson Barboza and Donald Cerrone. Gaethje has previously headlined five UFC cards, but this would mark the first time he has headlined a UFC pay-per-view event. Gaethje is a former WSOF Lightweight Champion, defeating Richard Patishnock at the WSOF 8 to win the gold.
UFC 249 takes place on Saturday, April 18 from a location to be announced with Khabib Nurmagomedov and Tony Ferguson headlining so far. Fightful is providing live coverage of the event, with a post-show podcast to follow.