The MMA world will not get to see Khabib Nurmagomedov vs. Tony Ferguson on April 18 at UFC 249 after all.
For a fifth time, the planned lightweight contest will be pulled, as Nurmagomedov is stranded in Russia after returning to the country to finish his training. The unbeaten UFC lightweight champion cannot leave due to closed borders over the COVID-19 virus.
Nurmagomedov is also likely to be sidelined for several more months due to Ramadan.
During a live Instagram chat, Nurmagomedov explained what happened.
“We were training at (American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California) without any information regarding the fight – where and how is it going to happen,” he said (thanks to ESPN for the quotes). “Then the UFC told us that the fight 100 percent isn’t happening in the States. And they said that 99 percent that it will happen in (the United Arab) Emirates – Abu Dhabi. We landed in Emirates, we learned that they are going to close borders and no one will be able to leave or fly in.
“So we had to fly back to Russia. Currently, I am in Dagestan and I am training and preparing every day.”
It is being reported that the UFC is attempting to book Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje at this time for the April card to keep it on track.