Khabib expects Ferguson fight to be scrapped again, Masvidal waits in the wings

By Sports Desk March 30, 2020
Khabib Nurmagomedov Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov is anticipating his proposed fight with Tony Ferguson at UFC 249 will be postponed for a fifth time as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

However, the unbeaten UFC lightweight champion claimed promoters are trying to schedule a fight for Ferguson "with or without him".

Nurmagomedov, who has a 28-0 record, had been due to face Ferguson in New York on April 18 but the event cannot be held at Barclays Center due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Now back in his native Russia, Nurmagomedov revealed he had been told it was "99 per cent" that he would still face Ferguson in Abu Dhabi, but now believes the UFC are planning the card without one of their most high-profile fighters.

"Now I am hearing that they are looking to organise it with or without me. Okay, go ahead," Nurmagomedov said on an Instagram live chat.

"Everyone should follow the laws. I am not against it, I know that fighters need to feed their families and pay their bills. I know how hard it is for the fighter. Unless they fight they aren't getting any money.



A post shared by Khabib Nurmagomedov (@khabib_nurmagomedov) on

“I am even hearing that they are looking for an opponent for Tony, because he is in the States and I am here in Russia. But I am here not on my own will."

He added: "The UFC told me that this fight 100 per cent isn't happening in the USA, and even if it's not happening in the Emirates it will happen on this side of Atlantic. We discussed everything with the UFC. 

"Now I don't really know what's going on. It's really hard to train and cut your weight when the whole world is locked down and you don't know what you are preparing for. But it's not the first time I face obstacles in my career."

On the previous four occasions Nurmagomedov and Ferguson had been due to meet in the octagon, health or fitness issues forced cancellations.

Ferguson accused Nurmagomedov of using the coronavirus pandemic as an excuse to avoid him, writing on Twitter: "April 18 Is Getting Close @TeamKhabib & You're Hiding In Russia.

"Travel Bans Will Not Prevent Me From Whoopin' That Ass. Don't Use It As An Excuse To Back Out. You Have Been Sent Many Locations, Send Us 1."

According to a report from ESPN, Ferguson has been offered an alternative fight with Justin Gaethje as an alternative option.

Welterweight Jorge Masvidal, who is one of the leading contenders in the weight class above Ferguson, also appeared to make his availability known by tweeting "April 18 I'm free #theresurrection".

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