Khabib Nuragomedov has broken his silence following the official cancellation of his showdown with Tony Ferguson. The undefeated Russian’s long-awaited showdown with Ferguson, which has been in the making for nearly five years, was due to headline UFC 249 on Saturday week.
But the pair’s seemingly cursed meeting – which has fallen through a staggering five times now – was axed last week after Russia introduced a blanket travel ban to curb the spread of the coronavirus, which left Nurmagomedov in lockdown in his native Dagestan.
The UFC moved quickly to replace the lightweight champion, drafting in fan favourite Justin Gaethje on less than two week’s notice.
The prize for the victor the fourth pay-per-view of 2020’s showpiece fight will be the interim lightweight title and a unification fight with Nurmagomedov later this year.
Nurmagomedov has yet to comment on the No.1 contenders’ match-up, which was officially announced on Monday night, but has broken his silence to celebrate the two-year anniversary of him becoming lightweight champion – a title he claimed at UFC 223 with a unanimous decision victory over Al Iaquinta in Brooklyn.
JUST IN: Tony Ferguson speaks out on UFC 249 clash with Justin Gaethje
Exactly 2 years ago, how quickly time passes, the story continues
Khabib Nurmagomedov on Instagram
On Wednesday night, Nurmagomedov posted a video of the fight to his official Instagram page with the accompanying caption: “Exactly 2 years ago, how quickly time passes, the story continues. 2 years ago today. UFC Lightweight Champion.”
Nurmagomedov, 31, followed up that post with a picture of himself sweating during a training session in his home gym.
UFC 249 was initially scheduled to take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn but was forced to move to a new location due to the coronavirus outbreak, which has wreaked havoc with the sporting calendar.
The drastically reshuffled card is expected to take place at the Tachi Palace Casino Resort in California.
Dana White explains coronavirus cautions UFC are taking for UFC 249
Conor McGregor next UFC fight unclear – Dana White
UFC 249 on course to take place on ‘West Coast’ of USA
Coincidentally, the Tachi Palace is a mere three hours away from Nurmagomedov’s San Jose training camp, where he was forced to leave due to restrictions implemented by the state of California.
Nurmagomedov has received fierce criticism for his clash with Ferguson falling through again, which UFC president Dana White insists is not his fault.
“He got caught up in Russia,” White told ESPN early on Tuesday morning. “It was a total mishap. We all made mistakes in that one.
“Nobody is to blame for that one, it is what it is. The fact that we can even pull off and event right now; this is by far the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
“I could go on for ten minutes telling you how that whole thing fell apart,” White said of Nurmagomedov vs Ferguson. “The reality is that’s nobody’s fault.
“Every day that I got up, the rules changed. Every day. Things were shutting down, things were closing down.
“Many people thought that this would be impossible for us to pull off.
“I’m always of the mindset that nothing is impossible. We’ll get this figured out. Where there’s a will, there’s a way.”
Source: Read Full Article