Khabib Nurmagomedov still has plans to defend his lightweight title and that includes fighting Justin Gaethje later this year.
Nurmagomedov and Gaethje were rumored to fight at UFC 253 on September 19. Yet, Khabib’s dad recently passed away leaving many to wonder whether or not the undefeated Dagestani champion would continue to compete.
Since the death of Khabib’s dad, Dana White has said when Nurmagomedov wants to fight he will call him, but they aren’t pressuring him to return. Now, however, his manager, Ali Abdelaziz, says the lightweight champion will indeed fight again and will take on Gaethje sometime in 2020.
“Khabib is not retiring,” Abdelaziz told TMZ Sports. “Khabib has some goals, he has some things he wants to accomplish. You will see him before the end of the year. Now him and Dana (are) talking and me talking to the matchmakers and we’ll try to set a date. I’m sure Dana is gonna let everybody know when Khabib is gonna fight. We have a blockbuster main event, him versus Justin Gaethje. Two of the best lightweights in the world today and the recent era. We see what Khabib does to all his opponents. We see what Justin Gaethje did his last four opponents. He dismantled Tony Ferguson. He made him look like an absolute amateur and that’s the best two guys in the world. They’re gonna fight.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov is coming off a submission win over Dustin Poirier at UFC 242 to defend his belt. Before that, he submitted Conor McGregor for his first title defense after winning the vacant title against Al Iaquinta at UFC 223.
Nurmagomedov was supposed to fight Tony Ferguson on April 18 at UFC 249, but the COVID-19 pandemic kept the Dagestani from leaving Russia. So, Justin Gaethje stepped in and scored a fifth-round TKO win over Ferguson to become the interim champion.
Cole Shelton covers MMA for BJPenn.com, MMANews, and MyMMANews.com while also being the lead MMA odds writer for Sports Betting Dime