After a two month hiatus due to the coronavirus (COVID-19), UFC 249: Tony Ferguson vs. Justin Gaethje returned for the interim lightweight championship belt.
With an opportunity to fight Khabib Nurmagomedov next, Gaethje surprised most by defeating Ferguson and ending his 12-fight winning streak dating back to 2013.
As Gaethje ruined the Nurmagomedov vs. Ferguson plans, Conor McGregor’s name was then brought up as an option for the champion and/or interim champion.
With president Dana White fully committed to unifying the lightweight belts now, he was targeting a September fight card before the reports about Nurmagomedov’s father being in a coma emerged, according to Farah Hannoun of MMA Junkie:
“We were gonna send out bout agreements yesterday,” White said. “There were a couple of weird things that happened yesterday, so we didn’t end up getting it done apparently, but we’re talking about doing Gaethje vs. Khabib in September.”
Before the reports about his father, Nurmagomedov tweeted he could fight as early as June after he celebrated Ramadan but has since changed his stance now:
“Because I talked to Khabib yesterday, and he said September. I’m ready to go in September.”
Considering the well-documented father and son bond they have and how much respect Nurmagomedov has for his father, this is extremely sad and difficult.
While much of the attention has been on Nurmagomedov being unable to fight Ferguson or Gaethje as his next opponent, the only priority is his father’s health.
Although it is currently unclear what this means for Nurmagomedov and his future, the hope is his father makes a full recovery and can continue to corner his son.
Our thoughts are with the Nurmagomedov family during this difficult time.