In a piece of news that's sure to bring a sigh of relief to fight fans across the globe, Dana White has announced UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov will make his Octagon return 24 October against interim champion Justin Gaethje in a title unification bout.
Speaking to CNN, Dana White revealed that the undefeated Dagestani fighter will return to defend his title for the third time against Justin "The Highlight" Gaethje. This comes after there was much speculation on whether Khabib Nurmagomedov will continue fighting following the death of his trainer and father Abdulmanap Nurmagomedov. Abdulmanap passed away from issues related to COVID-19 earlier this month.
“It’s been very rough on him,” White told CNN Sport’s Don Riddell. “His father was a hero to him, he loved his father, they had a very, very close relationship and it was very hard on him.”
Khabib Nurmagomedov was initially scheduled to face Tony Ferguson in the headliner of UFC 249 in May earlier this year but due to a flight ban in Rusia because of the coronavirus outbreak, the champion got stranded and had to pull out of the fight. Khabib Murmagomedov was then replaced by Justin Gaethje who fought and beat Tony Ferguson to become the new interim champion, setting up a massive title-unification clash against "The Eagle".
Khabib Nurmagomedov and Justin Gaethje were expected to throw down in September but that wasn't possible due to the unfortunate demise of the former's father. White confirmed that the fight will take place this year itself, on October 24 at a venue that is yet to be confirmed.
“It’s going to happen, I tell you right here right now,” White said. “That fight’s going to happen. Khabib versus Gaethje, October 24.”Published 28 Jul 2020, 20:21 IST