The UFC has reportedly locked in on a date for the lightweight title unification bout between reigning champion Khabib Nurmagomedov and interim title-holder Justin Gaethje. According to Combate, the UFC is targeting to book the fight as the main event of the UFC 253 pay-per-view set to go down on September 19.
Interim champ Gaethje spent years slaying most lightweights in the division to finally earn a shot at Khabib's title, knocking out former contender Tony Ferguson in a thrilling interim title fight at UFC 249 on May 9.
Nurmagomedov or Gaethje, who will emerge as the undisputed UFC lightweight champion?
Nurmagomedov was initially set to defend against Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 but due to a ban on international travel in Russia due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, the undefeated fighter could not make it to the United States and had to pull out of the fight at the last moment, handing "The Highlight" the opportunity to get into the title picture.
Gaethje is on a hot streak in the UFC at the moment, having run through his last four opponents, finishing three of them in the first round of the respective fights. Gaethje is a dangerous knockout artist inside the Octagon and the fact that he finished his opponents in his last 11 wins is proof of the fact that he will pose a stiff challenge for the reigning champion.
“The Eagle” remains undefeated in his professional MMA career, going 28-0, 12-0 inside the Octagon. In his last fight, Nurmagomedov successfully defended the lightweight strap against Dustin Poirier UFC 242. Prior to that, in what turned out to be the biggest grudge match as well as the highest selling PPV in UFC history, Nurmagomedov choked out Conor McGregor in the headliner of UFC 229 back in October 2018.
Although the promotion is looking to seal the September 19 date for the fight, Nurmagomedov's participation will depend upon the health condition of his father Abdulmanap who is currently being treated in a hospital in Moscow.Published 11 Jun 2020, 09:25 IST