Tony Ferguson to fight Justin Gaethje at UFC 249 after Khabib Nurmagomedov travel issues
Tony Ferguson will now take on Justin Gaethje at UFC 249, replacing Khabib Nurmagomedov, who was supposed to fight the American on April 18. Nurmagomedov, however, is stuck in Russia because of the coronavirus pandemic.
UFC president Dana White confirmed the news on his Instagram earlier today.
“The fight is signed and is 100% ON LIVE on ESPN somewhere on EARTH!!!!” He said.
“@tonyfergusonxt vs @justin_gaethje is LIVE on @espn+ PPV April 18th for the interim lightweight belt!”
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A venue has yet to be finalised for the event, which will go ahead without the presence of fans behind closed doors.
The event was supposed to take place at the Barclays Centre in New York, but it was moved because of the virus.
It’s thought that UFC 249 will now take place on the west coast of the United States, which could perhaps mean California or Las Vegas.
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Nurmagomedov confirmed last week that he would have to stay in Russia because of the lockdown.
“Staying home in quarantine and reading the reaction of people to the situation around my fight, it turns out that the whole world should be in quarantine,” he wrote on Instagram.
“Governments of all countries, famous people around the world urge people to follow all safety requirements in order to limit the spread of the disease, to save people.
“And Khabib is the only one relieved of all obligations and must demonstrate free will and train flying around the world, for the sake of fight?
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“I understand everything and I’m definitely upset more than you to cancel the fight, probably like all others.
“I had many plans after the fight, but I can’t control it all.
“The greatest countries and the largest companies of our time are shocked by what is happening, every day the situation changes unpredictably.
“But Khabib still has to fight, is that what you are saying? Take care of yourself and put yourself in my shoes.”
The news now leaves Conor McGregor without a next opponent as it was heavily rumoured he would be fighting Gaethje.
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